In 11 states, more than 20% of senior citizens remain unvaccinated, a rate much higher than the national average, the New York Times reports.
Why it matters: People over 65 years old are particularly vulnerable to experiencing severe symptoms and death from COVID-19.
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Seniors who remain unvaccinated could threaten their states' recoveries from the virus, especially as many states move to ease health restrictions, notes the Times.
The state of play: Nationwide, 87% of those 65 and older have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, per the Times.
In Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee, Georgia, Idaho and Missouri roughly 20% of seniors haven't received a single dose of the vaccine.
In West Virginia and Wyoming, more than 20% haven't gotten their first doses.
The big picture: Many of these states are in the South, where vaccination rates at large have lagged and experts warn there may be a summer surge in COVID-19 cases, according to the New York Times.
Factors influencing seniors to not get vaccinated "conspiracy theories, a belief in pseudoscience and a libertarian mind-set" that dislikes being told "what to do," Michael S. Saag, associate dean for global health and professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told the Times.
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