Diving into COVID-19 data #1: Workshop recap

Our first workshop happened this week! Drew Armstrong, Bloomberg News’s senior editor for health care, talked about his work on the publication’s Vaccine Tracker; and Arielle Levin Becker, director of communications and strategic initiatives for the Connecticut Health Foundation, discussed how to navigate COVID-19 race and ethnicity data. Thank you to everyone who attended—we had a great turnout!

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How to talk about COVID-19 vaccines

I wrote a tipsheet on covering COVID-19 vaccines for The Open Notebook. The piece provides tools and resources specifically for writers on the vaccine beat—both those who have been covering the pandemic for months and those who are now incorporating vaccine news into other aspects of their reporting. But this advice also applies more broadly to anyone simply talking about vaccines.

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Vaccinations so far are perpetuating existing inequity

The data we have so far continue to show significant disparities. In 23 states with available data, white Americans are being vaccinated at higher rates than Black Americans, a recent analysis by Kaiser Health News’ Hannah Recht and Lauren Weber found. This analysis followed a similar study that I cited two weeks ago—Recht and Weber write that “disparities haven’t significantly changed” with two more weeks and several more states reporting.

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Vaccination is a logistics problem

The federal government is distributing millions of doses each week, and many of those doses are making it into arms. By sheer numbers, we are already on track to meet President Biden’s 100 million vaccinations in 100 days goal. Our current problem is, in fact, a logistics one. It’s a build up of infrastructure failures, with all the weight falling on underfunded local public health departments.

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