Getting COVID-19 vaccines to rural Americans is harder than it looks – but there are ways to lift the barriers

  • Date: 12/31/2021

The enormous job of vaccinating the nation is underway, but for rural Americans, getting a COVID-19 vaccine becomes harder the farther they are from urban centers.

The current vaccines’ cold storage requirements and shipping rules mean many rural hospitals can’t serve as vaccination distribution hubs. That can leave rural residents – about 20% of the U.S. population – traveling long distances, if they’re able to travel at all.

Getting the word to rural residents about when they can be vaccinated isn’t easy either, and the extraordinary amount of misinformation downplaying the risk of the coronavirus this past year has had an impact on rural residents’ willingness to get the vaccine.

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