Albemarle County has the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the state. Why?


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Albemarle County now has the highest rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in Virginia.

By Friday, just over 70% of all residents in the county had received at least one dose of vaccine and nearly 60% were fully vaccinated.

Prices are just above other leading communities – like Fairfax City and Loudoun County. They are now dwarfing the counties at the lower end of the vaccinations. Patrick County, for example, is among the lowest with only 30% of the population fully vaccinated and 32% with at least one dose.

It’s impossible to say exactly why Albemarle is a leader in vaccination, but it has one thing in common with other heavily vaccinated areas – it’s wealthy.

“In general, areas of lower socioeconomic vulnerability have higher vaccination rates,” said Clare Brown, assistant professor of medical science at the University of Arkansas.

Brown recently conducted an analysis of thousands of counties to determine which factors are contributing most to vaccination rates. The study did not include Virginia.

To determine whether an area is socio-economically vulnerable, the researchers looked at a county’s per capita income and the number of people who did not have a college degree, lived below the poverty line, and were unemployed and uninsured.

The study also found that housing, transportation, and disabilities greatly influenced vaccination rates. That generally means that there are fewer vaccinated people in areas that are more densely crowded with apartment buildings, have more single parents, have people without cars, and have people with disabilities.

“So we’re not making this mean more people in a household,” Brown said. “That complicates the analysis in a certain way. It makes it harder to pinpoint a single factor. But neither is too much emphasis placed on one thing. There are all kinds of things that are related to each other. “

The general knowledge is that the more affluent an area is, the more likely its residents are to get vaccinated.

Albemarle encounters several markers of an affluent area. The median household income is about $ 80,000, and the census shows that less than 7% of the population live below the poverty line.

92 percent of the population have a college degree and 52 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. More than 63% of the residents own their own home.

“Albemarle County is one of the most educated and progressive areas in the Commonwealth,” said Donna Price, member of the Albemarle Board of Directors.

Areas with the lowest vaccination rates in the state show signs of being less affluent. Patrick’s median salary is $ 43,000. More than 15% of the people there live below the poverty line. And 20% did not graduate from high school.

Albemarle’s numbers are in the same stadium as other counties in Virginia with high vaccination rates. Many are clustered around Washington, DC

“Many of the counties in Northern Virginia have the same factors, and you can tell by the accumulation of dark blue areas on the map” of state vaccination rates, said Glen Barbour, a spokesman for Loudoun County, which has the second highest vaccination rate in the state.

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