Will Rural South Dakotans Get a COVID-19 Vaccination?
After the 2020 we've all been subjected to there are a lot of things to look forward to once we flip our calendars to 2021 in three weeks.
One of the things that many of us are anxiously awaiting is the opportunity to get a COVID-19 vaccination in the hopes that this might be the beginning of the end of this global pandemic.
And while the exact timetable of when the vaccine will be available for those of us in the Upper Midwest is still unclear, some experts are already making predictions as to where we will see the biggest levels of participation in getting the preventative shots.
To paint a clearer picture of what the future might look like, the County Health Rankings project and the Index of Relative Rurality examined the most recent data on the percentage of Medicare recipients who got a flu shot in 2017.
According to a report in USA Today, the numbers show that the more sparsely populated a county was the less likely its inhabitants were to get vaccinated. Of the 604 counties where fewer than a third of Medicare participants received flu shots, 580 of which were predominantly rural.
In South Dakota, five of the 26 South Dakota counties with fewer than 4,000 people (Bennett, Jackson, Jones, Haakon, and Ziebach) had vaccination rates of less than 20 percent
SOUTH DAKOTA COUNTIES WITH LOWEST VACCINATION RATES (2017 County Health Rankings)
- Bennett - 7%
- Corson - 8%
- Jackson - 11%
- Jones - 16%
- Walworth - 17%
- Haakon - 19%
- Ziebach - 19%
Central South Dakota's Jerauld County was singled out in the USA Today story.
The Mount Rushmore State's eighth smallest county had a flu shot rate of just 22 percent three years ago and currently has one of the worst COVID-19 death rates in the country (more than 640 per 100,000 residents).
Not surprisingly, a majority of the state's most populated counties had some of the highest vaccination rates. Seven of the state's ten largest counties (Minnehaha, Lincoln, Brown, Brookings, Codington, Yankton, and Davison) had vaccination levels of 50 percent or better.
SOUTH DAKOTA COUNTIES WITH HIGHEST VACCINATION RATES (2017 County Health Rankings)
- Davison - 61%
- Clay - 60%
- Brookings - 59%
- Minnehaha - 59%
- Codington - 58%
- Yankton - 58%
- Hand - 57%
- Hughes - 56%
- Lake - 55%
- Lincoln - 54%
- Beadle - 53%
- Brown - 52%
- Stanley - 52%