Vaccine Hesitancy Threatens Rural Communities and Their Health CareApr 22, 2022
This brief explores COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in rural communities, as well as some of its potential impacts, and offers policy recommendations. Data analyzed in this brief was collected by the Larry A. Green Center (Center) between July 2021 and December 2021, as America was dealing with both the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19. The results show that vaccine hesitancy continues to be prevalent among both patients and healthcare workers in rural areas. These attitudes leave rural areas more vulnerable to system and staff overwhelm driven by the spread of COVID-19. This may increase strain on providers’ mental health in areas that lack access to services, amplifying the risk of burnout. Policy solutions recommended in the brief could mitigate vaccine hesitancy in rural areas, decrease strain on rural health systems, and provide mental health support to providers.