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GoodRx.

Millions of Americans who live in "pharmacy deserts" could have extra trouble accessing coronavirus vaccines quickly, according to a new analysis by GoodRx.

Why it matters: Places without nearby pharmacies, or with a large population-to-pharmacy ratio, may need to rely on mass vaccination sites or other measures to avoid falling behind.

The big picture: Pharmacies will play a huge role in the vaccine rollout, especially as shots become more available to the general population.

  • But if people have to drive far to get a shot, or if pharmacies can't keep up with local demand, that could leave millions of Americans vulnerable to the virus for longer than people in better-served areas.
  • "Pharmacy deserts in turn create 'vaccine deserts' — where the rate of vaccination is slower simply because there aren’t enough vaccination appointments available due to limited pharmacy capacity," the GoodRx analysis says.
  • "The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine may take even longer without additional resources like mass vaccination sites," it says.

By the numbers: The incoming Biden administration has set a goal of vaccinating 100 million people in 100 days, or about 16% of the unvaccinated U.S. population, per GoodRx.

  • But "nearly half of all counties would have a slower local vaccination rate, generating further healthcare access inequities in areas that are already more likely to be under-resourced in the fight against COVID-19," the analysis concludes.
  • 177 counties don't have any pharmacies at all, leaving 635,000 people forced between foregoing a vaccine or potentially driving long distances to get one.

Go deeper: The growth of "pharmacy deserts"

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 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

1 hour ago - World

Olaf Scholz sworn in as German chancellor, succeeding Merkel

Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is sworn in by Bundestag President Bärbel Bas in Berlin today. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was sworn in as chancellor of Germany on Wednesday, succeeding Angela Merkel after 16 years and launching a new era of German and European politics.

Why it matters: Scholz, a center-left pragmatist who served as finance minister and vice chancellor in Merkel's last government, will lead Europe's largest economy in a coalition with the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats.