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Vaccination Gap Widening Between Urban and Rural Oklahoma

Steven Cornfield / Unsplash

Urban Oklahomans are getting COVID-19 vaccines at a much higher rate than their rural counterparts, resulting in a widening vaccine gap between the two.

According to data from the Oklahoma State University Center for Rural Health, vaccination rates mirrored each other through March.

At the end of that month, both were at 17% fully vaccinated. Those rates began diverging in April. As of Tuesday, 39% of urban Oklahoma is fully vaccinated. Rural is at 30%.

There are likely many factors at play, but one could be vaccine hesitancy in rural areas.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluationreleased national data on hesitancy. As of mid-June, Oklahoma’s share of hesitant residents skewed rural.

The county with the highest hesitancy rate was Woodward County, with nearly half of respondents saying they probably or definitely won’t get vaccinated.

Counties along the state’s southeastern border were also highly hesitant.

Catherine Sweeney was StateImpact Oklahoma's health reporter from 2020 to 2023.
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