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Minnesota and the U.S. are rolling out the COVID vaccine faster than you might think, here's why

Compared to other states and other countries, both Minnesota and the U.S. as a whole are rolling out vaccinations faster than most.

MINNEAPOLIS — The latest numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health show as of Wednesday about 8% of Minnesota's 5.6 million residents have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine so far.

Nearly 97,000 Minnesotans have completed their two-dose vaccine series.

So, where does Minnesota rank compared to the rest of the country?

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Minnesota ranks 17th in the nation for fully vaccinated people.

So, Minnesota is somewhere near the middle of the pack.

The situation is different in each state, and the vaccination rates are wide ranging.

However, nationwide, you may be surprised to learn that the U.S. is rolling out COVID vaccinations faster than most countries.

"The United States is actually doing pretty well,” Professor Jeremy Youde says.

Youde studies global health at the University of Minnesota Duluth and says there is a misconception among many Americans that the U.S. is falling behind with the vaccine rollout.

"We've seen a number of areas where there has been frustration about access to the vaccine or confusion about who is going to be eligible for the vaccine,” Youde explains.

But when you look at the data, the U.S. is actually doing better than most countries.

According to Our World in Data and Oxford University, the U.S. is ranked 1st in the world for how many vaccines have been given out.

China is close behind.

The United Kingdom is a far distant 3rd.

But shear numbers only tell part of the story.

When you look at vaccines per 100 people, the United States drops to 6th place.

Can you guess who number one is?

“Israel is at the top. They have really been the model for the international community right now,” Youde says.

And after Israel, the rest of the top five includes the United Arab Emirates, Seychelles (a small island off the coast of East Africa), the U.K. and Bahrain.

Youde says they all have something in common.

"A relatively small population in a relatively compact geographic space,” Youde says.

Which makes the U.S. ranking 6th even more impressive, when you consider how big the country is and its high population.

Similar countries like China, Canada and Russia don't even crack the top 20.

“Canada has had a really tough time with logistics. You have a smaller population that is spread out across a massive land mass. You also have a vaccine that needs to be kept at extremely cold temperatures and for some countries it’s difficult to handle those logistics,” Youde says.

Compared to other countries the U.S. may be doing well, but we are falling behind in terms of expectations.

It was originally thought we could have more than 20-million Americans vaccinated by the end of 2020, and we're just hitting that milestone a month later.

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