Young Americans are encouraged to get vaccinated 0:32
(CNN) – More than 40% of the United States population is already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but many of the inhabitants of the remaining 60% continue to face critical obstacles in accessing health care that make it difficult to obtain the vaccine even to counties that lag behind the overall COVID-19 vaccination rate in the United States tend to be poorer and less educated, and have less access to computers and the internet, according to a CNN analysis of the federal data.
This digital and economic divide contributes to disparities in access to healthcare overall, experts say, and access to COVID-19 vaccines is no exception.
“With too much in the health field, we focus on individual behavior without examining the systems that facilitate or do not facilitate the practice of that healthy behavior,” Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told CNN.
Vaccination rates tend to be higher where there is more internet access
In counties that lag behind the US median in vaccination coverage, there is an average of 35% more households that do not have internet access and 39% more households that do not have a computer.
“Health behaviors (like getting vaccinated against COVID-19) are, in part, a personal choice,” Besser said. “But one of the things that is often said is that the choices we make depend on the options we have. For someone who does not have internet access, there are not many options to be able to go online and schedule their appointment.
And economic disparities are one of the main causes of these and many others, experts say.
In counties that have fully vaccinated a less than average portion of their population, median household income is about 20 percent lower than in counties that have vaccinated a larger portion, according to CNN’s analysis.
In fact, a county’s vaccination coverage jumps an average of 3 percentage points for every $ 10,000 more in median household income.
Vaccination rates tend to be higher in wealthier counties
The average poverty rate is also higher in counties that have vaccinated a smaller proportion of their population, about 16%, compared to about 12% in counties with higher vaccination rates, and a smaller proportion of Adults 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, about 19%, compared to about 30%.
Vaccination rates tend to be higher in college-educated counties
CNN’s analysis used county-level immunization data from the CDC as of May 26, 2021, as well as data from the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey 5-year estimates. The analysis excluded data from seven states where county information was not included in more than 15% of immunization records.
A recent CDC study found that rural counties have vaccinated a smaller proportion of residents than urban counties in the United States on average. And experts say vaccination rates have been slower in rural counties for many of the same reasons that Covid-19 incidence and mortality rates were higher in them.
“The rural population is older, sicker and poorer in most places. That’s right, “Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association, told CNN. But it’s also a much more diverse group than the conservative white men that the focus is often on, he said.
The older population is typically well-covered in the United States, with nearly three-quarters of people 65 and older being fully vaccinated, according to CDC data, leaving the “sickest” and “sickest” parts at risk. “Poor” of rural communities.
“Poverty in a rural context is a huge factor driving public health problems and concerns, for a long time,” Morgan said.
Currently, there are problems of both access to health care and messaging, and poverty intersects with both, creating barriers not only to transport and internet access, but also to health knowledge.
Many inhabitants of rural communities still do not know that the Covid-19 vaccine is free and cannot afford, or do not know how to do it, to stop working to get vaccinated, Morgan explains.
Although the daily rate of vaccinations has decreased in recent weeks, so has the percentage of Americans who are reluctant to get vaccinated.
The next phase of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign will be slower and more deliberate, according to Besser, but just as important.
“Now what we see is a more constant and continuous effort. It’s harder work to reach the people who have more barriers to getting vaccinated, “he said. “But I am encouraged and optimistic that the interest will continue to exist.”