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The president is expected to direct pharmacies in the federal vaccine program to offer walk-in appointments, and encourage states to also offer vaccinations without an appointment.

President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisers outlined a new policy Tuesday morning, telling governors any doses that a state doesn’t request from its weekly, population-based allotment will be held in a general pool, and states with higher demand can request additional shots from that surplus. Read more»

Some rural counties, especially those located between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains like Colorado's Jackson County, lack brick-and-mortar pharmacies capable of administering the covid vaccines. People living in such 'pharmacy deserts' may have to drive long distances — twice — to get the protective shots.

A recent analysis by the Rural Policy Research Institute found that 111 rural counties, mostly between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, have no pharmacy that can give the vaccines. That could leave thousands of vulnerable Americans struggling to find vaccines, which in turn threatens to prolong the pandemic in many hard-hit rural regions. Read more»

The nation’s pandemic hotspots have shifted to rural communities, overwhelming small hospitals that are running out of beds or lack the intensive care units for more than one or two seriously ill patients. Read more»

Copper Queen Community Hospital CEO Jim Dickson has proposed that rural hospitals be allowed to set up a funding pool to draw federal dollars, at no cost to the state. The idea is being considered by state and federal officials.

Across the state, rural hospitals are facing “significant and irreversible harm,” as the Medicaid-dependent facilities see already thin margins squeezed by AHCCCS cuts and by swelling numbers of Medicaid and uninsured patients. Read more» 1