May 20, 2021 - News

Colorado defies America's rural-urban vaccine disparities

State vaccination rates and households without internet access
Data: GoodRx analysis of Census and CDC data; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Vaccination rates among rural counties in Colorado are about even with urban areas, bucking a trend playing out nationwide.

Driving the news: 49% of Coloradans in rural counties have been vaccinated as of April 10 — one percentage point above people in urban counties, a CDC report released Tuesday shows.

  • Meanwhile, only 39% of Americans living in rural counties have gotten the shot, compared with 46% of people in urban counties.

The big picture: Across the country, social factors like where you live, your education, whether you have health insurance and whether you have access to the internet are all correlated with how likely you are to get the COVID vaccine, Axios' Caitlin Owens writes.

Zoom in: The CDC report shows more than half of vaccinated people in Colorado's urban counties traveled outside their county of residence for their first dose, while only about 20% in rural counties did the same, suggesting accessibility issues in the state's biggest cities.

  • The opposite appears true elsewhere in America, where a larger portion of rural residents traveled to nonadjacent counties to get vaxxed.

The backdrop: Colorado officials have shifted the focus of the state's COVID-19 vaccine distribution to equity as supplies have increased.

Yes, but: Disparities in vaccine rates persist in Colorado, particularly among people of color and those from low-income communities.

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