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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The logistical challenges of distributing and administrating a coronavirus vaccine will meet deep skepticism of it in many parts of rural America, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Rural areas are currently being ravaged by the virus, and their residents tend to be older and in worse health — making them more vulnerable to the virus and thus a vaccination priority.

The big picture: Rural communities across the country also tend to have struggling health care systems, further complicating vaccination efforts.

  • "Responsibility for their inoculation....will fall to a public health system maimed by budget cuts and riven by racial and other inequities. The day-to-day delivery of shots, without reinforcements, will play out at understaffed clinics, overwhelmed pharmacies and beleaguered long-term care facilities," the WaPo writes.
  • Some rural areas may struggle to handle shots that require ultracold storage, and asking residents to visit a drive-up vaccination site may also be unrealistic for those without a car.

And while some populations, especially Black ones, don't trust the medical community, others — like some of President Trump's supporters — believe misinformation about the virus that may discourage them from getting vaccinated.

  • “How are you going to get people to take a vaccine to fight a virus they don’t believe in?” Jim Carnes, policy director for Alabama Arise, an advocacy group for low-income residents, asked the Post.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.