COVID vaccine hesitancy in rural areas

Rural Issue

COVID vaccine hesitancy in rural areas

A Midwestern congresswoman has asked the chief medical adviser to President Biden how Congress can deal with the COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy seen in rural areas.

Anthony Fauci told Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, the first thing not to do, “Make sure we don’t point fingers at them for doing that and not make them feel guilty about that.”

Bustos described a county in Illinois with a low population and only 19% vaccination rate as of Tuesday, “They had one phone line to sign up to get a vaccine. That has grown now to two. The highspeed internet is a problem in a very, very rural county. This is along the Mississippi River.”

Fauci said he would talk with the White House medical unit about mobile vaccine units for that area.

“I think mobile units would likely be one of the most important things to do because you’re describing people who don’t have real ready access to the kinds of things that would make it really easy.”

Fauci says getting trusted messengers to counter COVID vaccination concerns with scientifically sound responses is also very important. He says there are now 40-thousand pharmacies, many in rural areas, where people can just walk in for a vaccine.

Bustos says in Illinois, eight of the 15 least-populated counties are also among the 15 lowest-vaccinated counties and 11 of the 15 most-populated counties in the state are also among the 15 most-vaccinated counties.