An 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.
Since August 13, the CDC’s dashboard says, about 7.3 million Americans have received a third dose. These booster shots are obfuscating the country’s vaccination trends. Over one million people have been vaccinated every day for the past week, but roughly half of those people were getting their booster shots.
the outlets that I consider to be among the most reliable pandemic news sources published stories on our coming pandemic winter. Obviously, you should read both pieces in full, but here are my takeaways.
Anyone who’s tried to work with the federal government’s vaccination data has noticed this issue: there’s a Texas-shaped hole in the numbers. While the CDC and HHS report vaccination data for counties and metropolitan areas in the vast majority of states, data are missing for the entire state of Texas.
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.
This past Tuesday, April 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a press release that I found heartening, yet confusing. “Nearly 80 percent of teachers, school staff, and childcare workers receive at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine,” the release proclaims. These vaccinations include “more than 2 million” people in these professions who received doses through the federal retail pharmacy program and “5-6 million” vaccinated through state programs, all of whom received shots before the end of March.
Last night, I received my first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. I don’t usually publish more personal writing in the CDD, but it felt appropriate to share a short reflection I wrote during my 15-minute waiting period.
On Monday, AstraZeneca released results from their Phase 3 trials in the United States, and they looked good. But on Tuesday, officials started to question the results. The results released on Monday had looked better than more recent results released elsewhere, one of which showed an overall efficacy of around 60%.