The U.S. is hurtling forward with its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and a growing number of states have tossed out eligibility requirements, allowing anyone 16 and older to get a shot.
At least 19 states, including Alaska, Arizona, Utah, West Virginia, Mississippi and Georgia, have fully opened vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and up. A slew of states, including Illinois, California and Wisconsin announced they'll open the vaccine to all in coming weeks.
Many states and Washington, D.C. announced they're removing vaccine restrictions before May 1, the deadline President Joe Biden set for states to make the vaccine available to all adults.
Currently, at least 31 states and Washington, D.C., allow anyone over the age of 16 with high-risk medical conditions to receive a vaccine.
Alaska -- which currently leads the nation in vaccines administered per 100,000 residents, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data -- became the first state to allow anyone over the age of 16 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on March 9.
"Nearly one year ago, the first positive COVID-19 case arrived in Alaska. Today, our state -- because of the undaunted efforts of Alaskans -- is leading the nation in vaccinations efforts," Gov. Mike Dunleavy said.
Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, and Minnesota are among the states that opened the vaccine to all in the past week.
Under the Food and Drug Administration's guidance, patients must be at least 16 years old to receive the Pfizer vaccine and at least 18 for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
So far, more than 153 million vaccines have been administered in the U.S., cumulatively by the Trump and Biden administrations. So far 30% of the U.S. population has received at least one vaccine dose, and and 16.9%, or over 56 million people, are fully inoculated, per CDC data.
At the moment, a slew of states are open for patients as young as 16 if they have high-risk medical conditions that make them highly susceptible to a dire COVID-19 diagnosis.
Those states are: California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.