Austin Fast

Austin Fast is the inaugural Roy W. Howard Fellow on NPR's investigations team.

Before coming to NPR, Fast reported for KJZZ in Phoenix and covered the world's largest wild salmon fishery at KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska. He's also written breaking news at a Cincinnati TV station and taught English overseas with the Peace Corps.

Fast holds a master's degree in investigative journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and bachelor's degrees in journalism and international studies from Miami University (Ohio).

Rural communities outside America's cities are falling further behind in the race to vaccinate against COVID-19 as President Joe Biden's Fourth of July goal to reach 70% of American adults looms over the horizon.

Chris Reimer had never heard of Leopold, Mo., when he found himself rushing down a winding, two-lane road toward the rural, 65-person community in February.

Reimer, a social media manager in St. Louis, had made a split-second decision when he saw a local television reporter tweet about a 2,000-dose COVID-19 vaccination clinic opening to anyone after 3 p.m. that day.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 12:24 PM ET

Editor's note: This story was first published on Feb. 9, 2021. It is regularly updated, and includes explicit language.