President Joe Biden plans to announce on Tuesday that coronavirus vaccines will be sent directly to rural areas in the hope of immunizing more staff and residents.
According to NPR, the Biden administration has created a list of doctors residing in “socially vulnerable” communities.
These are the neighborhoods where many people live below the poverty line, are of low income, belong to racial or ethnic minorities and do not have access to public transportation.
The administration hopes that pediatricians, family doctors, and other local leaders can help reach Americans reluctant to receive a vaccine and persuade them to get a COVID-19 injection to protect them and their families.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration will announce a new plan to send doses of the COVID-19 vaccine directly to doctors in rural areas to help convince reluctant Americans to get the vaccine. Pictured: People age 80 or older begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines at the Oregon Convention Center, Feb.10
A new survey of rural hospital executives shows that 30% say less than half of their healthcare workers have received at least one dose.
According to The Daily Yonder, about one in four rural residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, roughly 10 percent less than in urban areas.
Additionally, at least 20 states – including Florida, Georgia and Louisiana – had vaccination rates in rural areas at least 20 percent worse than those in cities.
Therefore, the administration places its trust in healthcare professionals to reach community members reluctant to receive a vaccine.
Fortunately, we know that the vast majority of healthcare providers are highly supportive [the] Vaccine, Bechara Choucair, the White House vaccination coordinator, told NPR.
Schocher cited national data showing that 90 percent of doctors and nurses in master’s degree programs have been vaccinated or are in the process of doing so.
“We need to do this in all areas for both healthcare professionals and non-healthcare professionals and we will continue to do so,” he added.
However, many rural hospitals are struggling not only to vaccinate the population but their staff as well.
Rural vaccination rates lag behind urban rates by as much as 20% in nearly half of the U.S. states. Pictured: Terrell Carter encourages his neighbors to get vaccinated at Friendship Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, April 22
One survey, conducted by the National Rural Health Association and the Chartis Group, interviewed 160 rural hospital managers and asked what percentage of their employees had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Thirty percent of them said that less than half of their healthcare workers received at least one dose.
This is despite the fact that frontline workers have been eligible to receive vaccinations since the commissioning in December 2020.
Only 10 percent of executives said nearly all of their employees were at least partially immunized.
“These survey results match what we’re hearing from our members and that’s a big problem,” Alan Morgan, chief executive of the National Rural Health Association, told NPR.
At the federal level, every effort to beat vaccine hesitancy gets health care professionals front and center.
So, if you have a quarter of rural hospitals in the country that have had less than 50 percent of their staff vaccinated, you have a problem that needs fixing now.
Jeff Tendel, CEO of Carroll County Memorial Hospital, in Carrollton, Missouri, told NPR that he was disappointed that the vaccination rate among his staff was so low.
As of Monday, only 59 percent have been vaccinated and not many are expected to do so.
“I am disappointed that we have built so many safeguards … first and foremost to protect our employees, yet we had nearly 40 percent of those who chose not to help themselves,” he said.
However, other communities have had greater success, such as Memorial Hospital in North Conway, New Hampshire, where 78 percent of workers are vaccinated.
Senior officials attribute a local doctor who wrote a letter to each member of staff encouraging them to get vaccinated, citing studies that showed vaccines are safe and effective. These side effects were mostly mild.
‘and I know that [letter] People swung, because people told me so, Will Owen, who runs the hospital’s community vaccination clinic, told NPR.