What are COVID-19 vaccine deserts? Why are they dangerous?

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. New, more transmissible strains and flawed vaccination campaigns have led to epidemics around the world. The United States faces the same challenge, and health officials have a new concern – vaccine deserts.

What are vaccine deserts?

Vaccine deserts refer to areas where vaccination rates are low due to limited access, reported 6 ABCs in Philadelphia.

  • About 10% of eligible Americans live in vaccine deserts, Boston News reported.
  • “I think there is a fear that there are epidemics in vaccine deserts and places where there is not a lot of vaccination,” said Frederic Bushman, professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania. , via ABC.

People don’t get vaccinated “either because they strongly believe in conspiracy theories or because the vaccine just hasn’t been practical,” said Dr. Ala Stanford of the COVID-19 Black Doctors Consortium, per ABC.

Why are vaccine deserts dangerous?

With the increase in the number of transmissible variants, health experts increasingly fear that “dense epidemics” could spread across the United States to areas with low vaccination rates, the Deseret News reported. Concerns about dense outbreaks are linked to concerns that the delta variant could become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States very soon.

  • The delta variant reaching a vaccine desert could lead to epidemics of concern, as unvaccinated people are not protected against the variants the way vaccinated people are, ABC reported.

Where are the vaccine deserts?

A vaccine deserts mapping project was recently launched. The project, called “Vaccine Equity Planner,” is a collaboration between Boston Children’s Hospital, Ariadne Labs and Google, Boston News reported.

  • The map shows vaccine deserts as areas “where it’s more than a 15-minute drive to the nearest COVID-19 vaccination site,” according to Boston News.

The Vaccine Equity Planner is a free online tool where people can search their state and zip code to see if they live in or near a vaccine desert.

  • For individuals, the site provides information on the nearest immunization centers and the various transportation routes to reach those centers, according to Boston News.
  • For health officials, the site highlights vaccine clinics or other locations in deserts that currently do not offer vaccination but may in the future, according to the site.

How to limit the dangers of vaccine deserts?

Tackling the dangers of vaccine deserts involves individuals and health authorities, Boston News reports.

  • Individuals may go the extra mile to get the vaccine – even if it seems inconvenient, News Channel 5 in Nashville reported.
  • The authorities can continue to continue the current vaccination campaigns.

“It can’t be just a campaign of a few weeks,” Stanford told ABC. “It needs to be persistent and consistent so that people know when they’re ready and you’re there. “

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