As states across the country have scrapped Kovid-19 vaccination efforts, obtaining information about who is shot is almost as challenging as delivery.
With thousands receiving their second dose this week – and many officials arguing over whether to expand groups eligible for vaccination – blind spots are emerging: some states still haven’t posted vaccination updates and the disease The numbers issued by the Control and Prevention Center are very different from those issued by the state health departments.
What’s more, the CDC has slowed to show figures for the second dose, and a spokesperson for the agency said that a percentage of those receiving their second shot were initially mixed with the number of the first dose, the dose for some states. Volume increased.
Most states have yet to release demographic data on who is receiving shots, such as race, age, and location – important information in an epidemic that significantly affects communities of color. Racial figures in medical examiner records surfaced due to reporting by WBEZ in Chicago, which revealed that 70 percent of the city’s coronavirus deaths were black.
In the early months of the pandemic, obtaining data on where outbreaks were occurring and who the virus was dying was slow, difficult, and often incomplete. The lack of information hid trouble spots such as nursing homes and meatpacking plants in those early weeks. Subsequently, the federal government failed to track outbreaks in schools, and monitoring positive cases by race was delayed. The federal government was slow to release that information and, given the full severity of the epidemic, largely abandoned efforts for states.
Nearly a year later, history is already repeating itself, as the data on the rollout is fraught with gaps, contradictions and delays.
“I am going to say that there is no ideal information system that we need right now in terms of real-time public health information,” said Howard Koh, a professor at Harvard University’s TH Chamber of Public Health. .
Koh, formerly Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, made the remarks during a media briefing on the vaccine rollout last week.
“Unfortunately we already saw this with a slow rollout of the test and all the confusion about the test,” Koh said.
The logistics of vaccination across the country were bound to be difficult. Experts warned for months that even when vaccines arrived, it was important to establish an outline to deliver the shots.
Health care workers and nursing home residents have been vaccinated for the first time, but states are under increasing pressure to expand distribution rather than letting vaccines sit in the freezer.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Tuesday, “Every vaccine dose that is sitting in a warehouse instead of going in one hand can lose another life.”
When the vaccine rollout began in mid-December, only a patchwork of states posted updates online, while others relied on news briefings. It took two weeks for the CDC to release state-level data, which showed that the country was far behind its vaccine rollout targets.
Data publishing, often a dry topic left to policy makers and demographics, has become a powerful tool to governors, mayors and public-health officials during the epidemic when it reintroduced restaurant meals home or reopened schools Safe to start.
But states such as Missouri and Connecticut still have not released online data updates. And some of the most populous states are still slow to release data online. California has yet to release daily immunization data online. The state gave CDC figures showing the first dose at 1,500 per 100,000 people, surpassing the national average of 3,600. Those figures may now be several days old as states have up to 72 hours to report vaccination numbers to the CDC.
However, Los Angeles County is reporting data, as does New York City, which published the state’s first vaccination data online. And states with small populations like Idaho and South Dakota were the first to publish data online.
According to an NBC News analysis of immunization data, South Dakota has consistently ranked in the top three states since the rollover began, with more than 6,100 shots per person on Thursday. West Virginia had the highest, about 6,600 per capita.
Kansas, Illinois and Arkansas this week launched their data report in just one month, the vaccine rollout.
Many state dashboards, such as Illinois, show vaccinations by county but not by race or age. States like Tennessee are reporting races. And while data on county-level supplements is helpful, it lacks the accuracy that can come from small geographic areas such as zip codes. A person’s zip code can be used to determine the racial and economic makeup of a neighborhood, with a full address without violating their privacy.
Koh said, ‘Most people don’t think about it until such a thing happens. “We need the best information possible from a population-based perspective – by community, by neighborhood, by race, by ethnicity, and we need it in real time. It is reliable, and we do not yet have those robust systems. “
Discrepancies arise in the CDC’s three-day reporting lag when compared to information provided by state health departments. Even accounting for the delay, some of the CDC-imposed vaccinations were still far from thousands.
A CDC spokesman said the first-dose numbers were initially closed, as it included some second-dose numbers, which were fixed in a new release of data on Thursday.
The release was the first time that the CDC released a second dose status in the country, about 10 days after some states began reporting those numbers.
This is also the first complete picture of how far the country is away from herd immunity. Nevertheless, the CDC has not yet released data on race, age, or household locations within states. Without it, it is difficult to tell that poor and minority communities and those with limited health care have equal access to vaccines. The CDC said they would expand the data in the future.
More robust data reporting can help address such disparities. Florida is one of the few states that publishes data on place of residence. A Wall Street Journal report found that after eligibility for age was expanded, residents and foreigners with other homes were sent to Florida.
Many state rollout plans were based on addressing vulnerable populations and needed workers, but as some of those plans adjust, they may not have the time or luxury to obtain data before taking supplements.
A Dean at the Vaccine College of Medicine, Dr. Peter Hotz, who specializes in vaccine delivery, said that under an ideal scenario states would have the ability to collect timely data about vaccinations, vaccinated for vaccination, according to age and race Has been vaccinated. But he said he is not sure this is realistic without sacrificing delivery speed.
“I think it’s really important and useful as long as it’s not a hindrance to vaccination,” Hotz said.
“We learned in 2020 that we don’t do well with complicated things,” he said. “We’ve agreed to make it easy, otherwise it doesn’t work.”
After dealing with the United States epidemic last year, he said, “We have to do everything possible to make this easy, non-effective, and strong.”
Hotez said he generally believed that the numbers the states are putting in are accurate, although he said some gaps were still likely.
“I have no reason to doubt the veracity of numbers. It is just that there is a reduction in numbers, ”he said. “These are not the Communist Party’s five-year plans to exaggerate the wheat crop.”
Correction (15 January 2021, 5:30 pm): An earlier version of the chart in this article incorrectly states that Arizona does not have a Kovid-19 vaccine data dashboard. The state has one. The chart has been corrected.