TUESDAY, March 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) — COVID-19 vaccination coverage with one or more doses is higher in urban versus rural counties, according to research published in the March 4 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Ryan Saelee, Ph.D., from the CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response Team, and colleagues analyzed county-level vaccine administration data among persons aged 5 years and older who received their first dose of BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccine or a single dose of the Ad.26.COV2.S COVID-19 vaccine during Dec. 14, 2020, to Jan. 31, 2022, in 50 states and the District of Columbia to examine disparities between urban and rural populations.

The researchers found that COVID-19 vaccine coverage with one or more doses was lower in rural than urban counties overall (58.5 versus 75.4 percent); patterns were similar across age groups and sex. Among states, there was variation in coverage with one or more doses: Higher coverage was seen in urban versus rural counties in 46 states, while one state had higher coverage in rural versus urban counties. Completion of the COVID-19 vaccine primary series was higher in urban than rural counties, while urban and rural counties had similarly low receipt of booster or additional doses among recipients of the primary series. Compared with estimates from a previous study conducted among adults aged 18 years or older, these urban-rural disparities increased more than twofold among those now eligible for vaccination (aged 5 years or older).

“Addressing barriers to vaccination in rural areas is critical to achieving vaccine equity, reducing disparities, and decreasing COVID-19-related illness and death in the United States,” the authors write.

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