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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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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Vaccine confusion abounds—and this is the easy stage

Despite the federal government’s intense push to get vaccines through safety trials, that “last mile” step—from the Pfizer and Moderna factories to people’s arms—has been under-planned and underfunded. CDD analyzes publicly reported vaccination phases for every state and vaccine registration portals, along with other data updates.

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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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Vaccine news: data and concerns on early distribution

We’re all gearing up for next Thursday, when the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet to discuss Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine. If the vaccine is authorized for distribution, doses will go out to every state within days. Here are a few major data sources and issues that I’ll be watching as these vaccine candidates progress.

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The vaccines are coming

While many scientific experts have pushed back against President Trump’s claims that a vaccine for the novel coronavirus will be available this October, state public health agencies have been instructed to prepare for vaccine distribution starting in November or December. Considering the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s many missteps in both distributing and tracking COVID-19 tests this spring, I have a wealth of concerns about this federal agency’s ability to implement a national vaccination program.

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