15 states are reporting COVID-19 vaccination data—federal government lags behind

This past week, the first COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered to frontline healthcare workers across the country. The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization to a second vaccine. But I haven’t seen a vaccination dashboard from the CDC. This federal agency is lagging behind several states that are making their vaccination counts public, as well as journalists who have already begun to compile the limited information that’s available.

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Help advocate for better COVID-19 demographic data

A new form on the COVID Tracking Project website allows you to help advocate for better race and ethnicity data. Simply select your state, then use the contact information and suggested script to get in touch with your governor. States with specific data issues (such as Texas and West Virginia) have customized scripts explaining those problems.

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What’s up with testing in Texas?

The COVID Tracking Project published a blog post this week in which three of our resident Texas experts, Conor Kelly, Judith Oppenheim, and Pat Kelly, describe a dramatic shift in Texas testing numbers which has taken place in the past two weeks. On August 2, the number of tests reported by Texas’s Department of State Health Services (DSHS) began to plummet. The state went from a reported 60,000 tests per day at the end of July to about half that number by August 12.

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Delaware leads the charge on data integrity

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of speaking to Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness. Auditor McGuiness was elected to her position in 2018, and she hit the ground running by implementing new ways for Delaware residents to report fraud and keep track of how their taxpayer dollars were being spent. Now, State Auditor McGuiness is focused on COVID-19. She spearheaded the creation of a standardized template that she and other state auditors will use to evaluate their states’ COVID-19 data collection and reporting. The template, created in collaboration with auditors from Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, is a rubric which watchdog offices may use as a baseline in determining which datasets they examine and which questions they ask of state politicians and public health officials.

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States are auditing their COVID-19 data

This past Tuesday, several top state auditors announced a joint initiative: they’re going to review how state COVID-19 data are collected and reported. Auditors from five states—Delaware, Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—worked with the National State Auditors Association to put together a framework that every state can use. 13 other states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico, have already expressed interest in using the framework.

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Public health experts call for COVID-19 data standardization

The U.S. urgently needs better standards for COVID-19 data at national, state, and local levels, argues Resolve to Save Lives, a nongovernmental initiative run by the global health organization Vital Strategies. Resolve is led by President and CEO Dr. Tom Frieden, a former Director of the CDC; he worked with other public health experts on a report which reviewed the availability of COVID-19 data in the U.S.

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