COVID source shout-out: Transparency in Utah

Utah hasn’t hit 70% adult vaccinations yet—but a recent data error led state officials to erroneously announce the benchmark had been hit. Spencer Cox, Utah’s governor, posted an apology on Twitter that drew attention for his commitment to transparency and accountability.

“My fellow Utahns,” the statement opens, “We screwed up. And I sincerely apologize.” Cox goes on to explain the data error, affirm the state health agency’s commitment to accurate numbers, and emphasize the need for easily-accessible vaccinations.

The data error arose from the challenge of matching state and federal data. In Utah, like in every other state, a small number of vaccine doses are administered under the federal government’s purview via the federal-pharmacy chain partnership, the Department of Defense, Indian Health Services, and other agencies. When Utah officials added the federal doses to state numbers, they initially found that 70% of adults had received at least one shot—the true number is just over 67%, Cox said. 

Also, while poking around Utah’s COVID-19 website to better understand the data error, I found that the state has some great vaccine promotions going. These include the option to request a free mobile vaccination clinic in your community and this truly incredible “Vaccine Mythbusters” video. With the help of these initiatives, Utah is sure to hit 70% soon.

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