State Strategies to Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake in Rural Communities   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Document: "Access to health care is a common challenge for rural and frontier communities due to provider shortages, insufficient broadband Internet availability, geographic location, among other issues. The COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic has exacerbated many of these barriers. Rural residents often travel longer distances to receive the COVID-19 vaccine than people in other areas, and they generally lack access to public transportation. Rural residents may also struggle to receive critical public health information due to unreliable access to the Internet and other technology equipment, such as smartphones and computers. During the pandemic, additional challenges surfaced including a lack of trust in the government and concern about the COVID-19 vaccine's safety. The fast-paced nature of the pandemic spurred new and changing information with misinformation spreading as quickly as reliable news, undercutting science and public policies, especially related to COVID-19 prevention measures like the vaccine. Governors have the authority to pull together stakeholders and the ability to address the long-standing and emerging issues impeding vaccine confidence, access and uptake in rural communities. Because trusted messengers (outlined in Figure 2) are vital to increasing confidence, Governors might consider convening state experts and local partners to establish a strong foundation of trust. They may also allocate resources to build on existing programs and processes and create new, sustainable strategies that will both improve vaccination rates as the pandemic continues and prepare future public health initiatives."

National Governors' Association
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National Governors' Association: https://www.nga.org/
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