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Open spaces, no pharmacies: rural US confronts vaccine void

BEN FINLEY

But there are gaps in the map: More than 400 rural counties with a combined population of nearly 2.5 million people lack a retail pharmacy that's included in the partnership. More than 100 of those counties either have no pharmacy or have a pharmacy that historically did not offer services such as flu shots, and possibly lacks the equipment or certified staff to vaccinate customers. Independent pharmacies that have traditionally served rural areas have been disappearing, casualties of mail-order prescriptions and more competition from chains like Walgreen's and CVS with greater power to negotiate with insurance companies, according to Keith Mueller, director of the University of Iowa's RUPRI...