CDC study reveals coverage disparities between rural and urban areas
An El Paso firefighter health worker administers the Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a vaccination center near the Santa Fe International Bridge in El Paso, Texas on May 7, 2021.
Jose Luis Gonzalez | Reuters
People in rural areas are receiving Covid-19 vaccines at a lower rate than those in urban areas, which could hamper the country’s progress toward ending the pandemic, according to a new study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. .
The CDC analyzed county-level vaccine administration data in U.S. adults who received their first dose of either of the Pfizer–BioNTech or Modern Covid-19 vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & johnson Vaccine against covid19. It looked at data from 49 states and the District of Columbia up to April 10.
The agency found a lower percentage of residents in rural counties who received at least one shot than in urban counties, at 38.9% and 45.7%, respectively. The CDC also found that people in rural areas who had received a vaccine often had to travel further afield to get it than people in urban areas.
“Reluctance to immunize in rural areas is a major obstacle that public health practitioners, health care providers and local partners must overcome to achieve equity in immunization,” wrote the CDC in the report.
“As the availability of COVID-19 vaccines increases, public health practitioners should continue to collaborate with healthcare providers, pharmacies, employers, religious leaders and other community partners to identify and eliminate the obstacles to COVID-19 vaccination in rural areas, ”the agency added. .
The new data comes as more studies show people in rural areas may be more reluctant to get vaccinated. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation published in april found 3 in 10 rural residents said they ‘definitely will not’ get vaccinated or will only do so when needed.
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky addressed the study ahead of its publication Tuesday, saying the Biden administration is committed to reaching communities “all over the United States.”
The United States is working to “ensure that access to vaccines is equitable whether you live in rural or urban areas,” she said at a White House briefing on Covid -19. “Public health staff are working across the country to deliver reliable information through trusted messengers.”
Walensky said that over the past weekend, CDC staff attended the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, where U.S. health officials provided Covid tests and vaccinations.
“We are really making progress across the country to ensure that people have access to vaccines,” she said.
Tuesday’s study did not calculate coverage by race and ethnicity, the CDC said, as information on this was missing for 40% of the data.