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Uneven vaccination in the US shows regions at risk

(Bloomberg) – The gap between the regions with the highest vaccination rates and the least vaccinated in the United States has skyrocketed in the past three months and continues to widen despite efforts to convince more Americans to get vaccinated against covid- 19.

Nationally, the news looks good. Approximately 300,000 people are vaccinated for the first time against COVID daily in the US, and 54% of the total population of the country has already received at least one dose. The US vaccination campaign is one of the most successful in the world, states lifted restrictions on economic activity and socialization, and hospitalizations dropped.

But recent data at the county level shows that national numbers mask vastly different realities of vaccination rates.

In the least vaccinated group of counties, many of which are in the southern and central regions of the U.S., fewer than half of people received at least one dose of the covid vaccine, relative to counties. with higher rates in cities and coasts. Those least vaccinated places are not making up for the backwardness either. The gap between the most and least vaccinated counties is widening, and the lagging counties are well below the levels needed to avoid future waves of covid.

The slowdown in immunization shows that despite the Biden Administration’s “month of action” to reach its goal of vaccinating 70% of adults with at least one dose by July 4, it remains a challenge to reach some areas.

“The consequences could be quite dire,” said Timothy Callaghan, who studies rural health at Texas A&M University. “We will have counties where vaccination is rare and does not approach herd immunity, and others where it is high. We could have a country divided between vaccinated and unvaccinated ”.

Differences in the level of vaccination may open the door to a new epidemic elsewhere. In addition, they can create fertile ground for new mutations, allowing the virus to develop resistance to vaccines. An analysis last week of covid cases in 700 counties, for example, revealed that the new delta variant first identified in India, which is believed to be much more contagious, has been found more frequently in less vaccinated counties of USA

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Bloomberg’s analysis is based on county-level data on the number of people who have received at least one dose of a vaccine, both from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Texas. While previous analyzes have examined county-level data on complete inoculations, recently available first dose data provides a more up-to-date view.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that about 13% of Americans plan to avoid the vaccine at all costs, while another 12% say they are waiting before making a decision and 7% will get vaccinated only if necessary. Among the most hesitant groups, according to KFF, are Republicans, people of color, youth and rural residents, similar to the Bloomberg analysis.

Original Note: Growing Gaps in US Vaccination Rates Show Regions at Risk

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