Even where pharmacies exist, it's been a challenge for independent drugstores to participate in the COVID vaccine rollout. (Photo: Shutterstock.com)

As the Biden administration accelerates a plan to use pharmacies to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, significant areas of the country lack brick-and-mortar pharmacies capable of administering 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.

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