Virus vaccination rates in rural Nebraska lag behind cities

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska health officials are continuing to work to persuade residents of rural parts of the state, where coronavirus vaccination rates remain low, to get their shots.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that vaccination rates in the state’s rural counties tend to lag far behind the rates in the state’s urban counties, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only about 40% of the adults in rural parts of Nebraska are fully vaccinated compared with more than 60% of those living in the state’s metropolitan areas.

The state’s most populous counties have some of the highest vaccination rates: Lancaster County has 63% of its adults fully vaccinated, followed by Douglas at 62% and Sarpy at 58%.

 

In contrast, 11 of the state’s rural counties have vaccination rates under 25%, including McPherson at 11%, Grant and Logan at 16% and Arthur at 17%.

As part of the effort to reach rural areas. two top officials at the state Department of Health and Human Services plan to participate in a forum hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs on Tuesday. The agency’s CEO Dannette Smith and Chief Medical Officer Gary Anthone will answer questions about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines during the event.

The state has also promoted the vaccines in rural areas through advertisements, other town hall meetings and work with local health officials.

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