CDC now reporting a vaccination count (and other updates)

Screenshot of Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, taken on December 26.

Despite the holiday, many jurisdictions have begun reporting COVID-19 vaccination data since my last issue. Here are the major updates:

  • CDC added vaccinations to its dashboard: Mere hours after I published last week’s newsletter questioning when the federal government would release a national count of how many Americans had been vaccinated, the CDC began posting just that. The CDC COVID Data Tracker now includes both a count of how many vaccine doses have been distributed and a count of how many people have received their first dose—1.9 million as of Saturday, December 26. The count includes both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, and incorporates reporting from states, local public health agencies, and federal entities including the Bureau of Prisons, Veterans Administration, and Indian Health Services. More detailed geographic and demographic data are not yet available from the CDC.
  • 27 states are now reporting COVID-19 vaccination data: While the COVID Tracking Project is not tracking vaccinations, the Project is keeping a running list of states that are reporting vaccine-related metrics. As of December 25, 27 states are reporting vaccine doses administered or another similar metric. Of the states reporting vaccinations, nine are reporting race and ethnicity of the residents vaccinated—that’s a huge jump from last Sunday, when only Florida was reporting this information. In other demographic metrics: 14 states are reporting age of those vaccinated, 10 are reporting sex or gender, and 14 are reporting county.
  • How the COVID Tracking Project hopes vaccines will be tracked: In addition to its state dashboard annotations, the Project released a blog post last week detailing key information that Project leads believe should be prioritized by state and federal public health departments, as well as what states are reporting so far. Key metrics include: the number of people fully vaccinated (not just the number of doses administered), demographic data reported in absolute numbers (not percentages), county-level data, and data on vaccinations in long-term care facilities.
  • New Mexico will notify residents when they qualify for vaccination: This past Wednesday, the New Mexico Department of Health launched a website where state residents can sign up to learn when they will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The sign-up form is currently somewhat confusing to use, as a new user must click “Schedule a New Appointment” to put in their contact details—even if they aren’t eligible for vaccination yet. Still, this effort to provide transparency about vaccination progress on such an individual level is unique among states thus far.
  • Our World in Data is tracking COVID-19 vaccinations worldwide: As of December 26, the open-source data repository Our World in Data is compiling vaccination counts from 10 countries: the U.S., the U.K., China, Russia, Israel, Canada, Bahrain, Chile, Mexico, and Costa Rica. So far, the U.S. has administered the most doses at 1.9 million, while Bahrain has administered the most doses when adjusted for population, at 3 doses for every 100 people.
  • Initial COVID-19 vaccine data in North Carolina reveals racial disparities: Samantha Kummerer, reporter for ABC11 in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, used the state’s early demographic data to draw attention to healthcare disparity. “When compared to the overall population of North Carolina, both Black and Latino communities are severely underrepresented in COVID-19 vaccination data,” Kummerer writes. She goes on to explain that these data reflect the hospital workforce in North Carolina, which was the first group to be vaccinated—and which is overwhelmingly white. This story reflects why it is so important for states to be transparent about their vaccination demographics, even at such an early stage of vaccine deployment.

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