Thursday, March 04, 2021

Vaccine disparities pit rural America vs. urban America

"The U.S. vaccine campaign has heightened tensions between rural and urban America, where from Oregon to Tennessee to upstate New York complaints are surfacing of a real — or perceived — inequity in vaccine allocation," Travis Loller, Jonathan Mattise and Gillian Flaccus report for The Associated Press.

"In some cases, recriminations over how scarce vaccines are distributed have taken on partisan tones, with rural Republican lawmakers in Democrat-led states complaining of 'picking winners and losers,' and urbanites traveling hours to rural GOP-leaning communities to score Covid-19 shots when there are none in their city," AP reports. However, it should be noted that many rural counties lack the health infrastructure to administer vaccines, forcing residents to drive long distances.

Part of the problem is that the Trump administration provided vaccine-eligibility guidelines but let states distribute vaccines. Many delegated authority to county governments, sometimes resulting in large disparities, wasted doses, and wildly inconsistent eligibility standards, AP reports.

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