Arizona Leads the Nation for Vaccination Rates in Rural Areas

May 28, 2021

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Health Guidelines Displayed on a Billboard SignGuess who's #1 in the country? A recent ranking from the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control shows that Arizona is leading the charge nationwide in vaccinating its citizens from its smaller rural counties, as mentioned in the Tucson.com article "Arizona No. 1 in Getting COVID Shots to Rural Residents". The report shows that as of April 10th, 156,182, or 59% of Arizona residents 18 or older, from counties like Navajo, Apache, Gila, Santa Cruz, Graham, La Paz, and Greenlee have received at least one dose of the vaccine. For comparison's sake, the national average for rural areas is 38.9%.

But to understand how we got here, we need to go back a few months. In February, an initiative called Mobile Outreach Vaccination and Education for Underserved Populations (MOVE UP) was created to target hard-to-reach populations in both rural and urban areas of Maricopa County, including dairy, chicken and produce farms, community centers, senior housing, elder and long-term care facilities, and schools. The initiative then expanded to counties in Southern Arizona like Santa Cruz, Cochise and Graham.

Dr. Daniel Derkensen, a professor of public health in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, said one focus was to make the vaccines easily accessible to farmworkers and truck drivers as it is harder for them to get vaccinated. The Arizona Department of Health Services director, Dr. Cara Christ, praises the efforts of our tribal nations and local public health departments for Arizona's high vaccination rate in rural areas.

For more information, make sure to head over to the article here: "Arizona No. 1 in Getting COVID Shots to Rural Residents".


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