U.S. rural COVID-19 vaccination rates lag behind urban areas: study

(Xinhua) 09:45, May 19, 2021

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19 vaccination rates in rural America lagged behind urban counties during the first four months of the nation's concerted immunization push as challenges such as lack of access and vaccine hesitancy persisted, a new study has found.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis released on Tuesday found that 39 percent of rural adults received at least one vaccine dose, compared with 46 percent of urban adults. Rural vaccination rates also were lower than urban rates among younger adults, seniors, men and women.

The nation's hundreds of small towns are vulnerable. Not only do rural communities often lack the health care resources of bigger cities, they also have a population more susceptible to severe outcomes, Alan Morgan, CEO of National Rural Health Association, was quoted on Tuesday by USA Today as saying.

"The moment we're in right now is overcoming vaccine hesitancy in a rural context," Morgan said. "That's the battle at hand."

Experts also said that the early trend is concerning because rural residents face a greater risk of infection, severe illness or death from COVID-19, according to the report.

The analysis counted vaccination rates among adults who received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or the single-dose Johnson &Johnson vaccine as of April 10 in 49 states and Washington, D.C.

In a possible sign rural residents could not access vaccines as easily as urban dwellers, about 15 percent of rural residents traveled outside their county to get a shot. 

(Web editor: Shi Xi, Hongyu)


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