States most vulnerable to COVID are some of the least vaccinated

Reproduced by Surgo Ventures; Data: CDC, Surgo Ventures; Note: Vaccination Rate indicates the percentage of the state's population that is fully vaccinated; Map: Connor Rothschild / Axios
Some states - especially those in the south - are at much higher risk of severe coronavirus outbreaks not only because of lower vaccination rates, but also because their populations were more vulnerable to begin with.
Why It Matters: In many ways, the US pandemic feels like it is. But in some parts of the country this feeling can be short-lived, especially as new varieties keep spreading.
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Driving news: Although experts are concerned about the growing prevalence of the Delta variant in the US, evidence is mounting that vaccines work well against it.
"The Delta variant accounts for a rapidly growing proportion of US cases, and that proportion will continue to increase and could lead to clusters and outbreaks, especially in areas of the country and in populations with lower vaccination rates," tweeted former CDC director Tom Peace.
The virus will continue to evolve as long as it has the opportunity to continue to spread around the world.
Between the lines: Certain risk factors, such as high rates of underlying disease or poor access to health care, make some communities more prone to severe outbreaks than others.
People living in these areas would arguably benefit most from vaccination as they are at the highest risk.
But that's not what is happening. Instead, some of the most vulnerable states in the country - like Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia - have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, according to an analysis by Surgo Ventures.
The bottom line: Until vaccines became widespread, Americans suffered collectively from the pandemic.
In the future, most of the suffering is likely to focus on people who remain unvaccinated.
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