You can now get vaccination numbers for U.S. states, counties, and metropolitan areas in an easily downloadable format: the Community Profile Reports published daily by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These reports are basically the HHS’s one-stop shop for COVID-19 data, including information on cases, deaths, PCR tests, hospitalizations—and now, vaccines. (Read more about the reports here.)
For counties and metro areas, the reports just include numbers and percentages of people who have been fully vaccinated, reported for the overall population and the regions’ seniors (age 65+). For states, the reports include more comprehensive information that matches the data available at the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.
I visualized the county-level data, including both the overall and 65+ rates. I think this chart demonstrates how valuable it is for the public to have easy access to these data: you can see much more specific patterns reflecting which communities are ahead on vaccination and which still need to catch up.
A COVID Tracking Project friend alerted me to this data news last Monday, April 19. When I dug back into the past couple weeks of Community Profile Reports, however, I found that the HHS started including vaccination data in these reports one week earlier, on April 12. As seems to be common for federal data updates, the new information wasn’t announced in press briefings or other standard lines of communication.
Next, I would love to see the CDC make more granular demographic data available so that we can analyze these patterns with an equity lens. State-level or county-level vaccination rates by race and ethnicity would be huge.
More vaccine coverage
- 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.