The CDC continues to improve its vaccination reporting. The agency is now regularly reporting demographic data on its dashboard—including race, ethnicity, age, and sex. You can see counts for both U.S. residents who have received one and two doses. Like the rest of the CDC’s dashboard, the agency is updating these figures every day.
Advocates for greater equity in the vaccine rollout have pushed for such a data release for weeks. Meanwhile, more states than ever before are publishing their own demographic data: as of yesterday, we’re up to 33 states reporting race and/or ethnicity of vaccinated residents, 36 reporting age, and 32 reporting sex/gender.
But when it comes to tracking who’s getting vaccinated in America, we still have a long way to go. Now that demographic data are becoming more available at the federal and state levels, equity advocates are pushing for more local data—vaccinations by county, by town, by ZIP code.
New York City data reporter Ann Choi, for example, pointed out on Friday that this city has lagged behind cities such as Chicago and D.C. in releasing ZIP code-level vaccination data, which would allow researchers and journalists to see precisely which neighborhoods are getting more shots. And NYC ZIP codes are precise—I’m literally moving two blocks, but my ZIP code is changing.
(P.S. Ann will be speaking at the third workshop in the Diving into COVID-19 data series, on March 3, about her work at THE CITY!)
The Biden administration will soon start sending doses directly to Community Vaccination Centers, sites operated in partnership with existing community health clinics in an attempt to capitalize on existing connections that these clinics have in their neighborhoods. In order to judge the success of these clinics, we need data about their communities. Local data, demographic data, occupation data… the more complete picture that we can get, the better.
With more local data, we can do more stories like these:
- Across The South COVID-19 Vaccine Sites Missing From Black And Hispanic Neighborhoods (NPR)
- At This Early Stage of the COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Out, Most Older Adults Have Not Yet Been Vaccinated As Supply Remains Limited (KFF)
- Covid-19 vaccination rates follow the money in states with the biggest wealth gaps, analysis shows (STAT)
- Booster shots exacerbate global vaccine inequityAt the end of last week’s post on booster shots, I wrote that these additional doses take up airtime in expert discussions and in the media, distracting from discussions of what it will take to vaccinate the world. But these shots do more harm than just taking over the media cycle. When the U.S. and other wealthy nations decide to give many residents third doses, they jump the vaccine supply line again—leaving low-income nations to wait even longer for first doses.
- Another COVID-19 endgame takeTrevor Bedford, computational virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center—and widely regarded expert on coronavirus variants—wrote a useful Twitter thread this week. In the thread, Bedford provides his take on the “COVID-19 endgame.” In other words, what will happen once the virus reaches endemic levels?
- Unreliable population numbers hinder vaccination rate analysisAn excellent article in the Financial Times, published this past Monday, illuminates one major challenge of estimating a vaccine campaign’s success: population data are not always reliable. Health reporter Oliver Barnes and data reporter John Burn-Murdoch explain that, in several countries and smaller regions, inaccurate counts of how many people live in the region have led to vaccination rate estimates that make the area’s vaccine campaign look more successful—or less successful—than it really is.
- Booster shots: What we’ve learned—and what we still don’t knowThis week, the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee had a two-day meeting to discuss booster shots for Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines. From the outside, these meetings may have appeared fairly straightforward: the committee voted unanimously to recommend booster shots for both vaccines. But in fact, the discussions on both days were wide-reaching and full of questions, touching on the many continued gaps in our knowledge about the need for additional vaccine doses.