Discrepancy in data means vaccination rates could be higher than reported in Washington and Spokane County
There are likely more county and state residents vaccinated than local or state-level coronavirus vaccine figures suggest due to roadblocks between federal and state agencies sharing data.
As of Saturday, 188,051 residents of Spokane County were fully immunized, state data showed.
Federal data tells a different story.
As of Tuesday, 211,034 residents of Spokane County are fully immunized, according to federal data.
The difference can be explained, in part, by missing data at the state level.
Vaccination data from the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Bureau of Prisons is not included in national and local immunization data, so some postcodes appear to be further behind in their immunization efforts than they do. they probably are. Additionally, residents who have been vaccinated out of state may not appear in state data.
For example, 99011, the postal code for Fairchild Air Force Base, has an immunization rate of 4.8% for the total population, according to data from the local health district. But that figure is significantly lower than any other zip code in the county.
This is because the Department of Defense has separated its vaccine data from national and local vaccine data. Vaccines have been offered on the base for months, but Fairchild has not released the number of people vaccinated on the base, for “security reasons” as part of Department of Defense policy.
Similarly, vaccine data from the Department of Veterans Affairs is not part of national or local totals. Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center said it intended to release the number of state residents they vaccinated, but that data was not ready on Tuesday.
The Washington Department of Health has attempted to fill this data gap, but so far the two federal agencies have only provided aggregate data to the Department of Health, not individual vaccine records.
This presents a dilemma for DOH, which doesn’t want to double-count anyone in its vaccine database. If a veteran, for example, was vaccinated elsewhere than in the VA, he could be double-counted in the state’s vaccine database if he were to simply add aggregate data to his system.
The Health Department is trying to integrate the federal data it has, but it has also asked the federal government to share individual vaccine records, although “there is currently no solution,” said Monday a press release from the DOH.
This data gap also means that active duty members or veterans whose immunization records do not appear in the state immunization data will not be eligible for the lottery announced by Gov. Jay Inslee last week. . Washington residents who received a vaccine in another state may also not be included in the state lottery due to similar data reconciliation issues.
“Washington State is currently working with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to request vaccine information for Washington residents and / or to find alternative methods for people to agree to have their records added to. the database, “according to the lottery website.
Employees of the Department of Health, the Washington Lottery, the Lotteries Commission and the Governor’s Office, as well as their families and members of their household are not eligible to win the vaccine lottery.
Here is an overview of local numbersThe Spokane Regional Health District confirmed 65 new cases on Tuesday. Last week, the district confirmed seven more deaths.
There have been 653 deaths among county residents due to COVID-19.
There are 63 patients hospitalized in Spokane with the virus.
The Panhandle Health District on Tuesday confirmed 33 new cases and one additional death.
There have been 307 deaths among residents of Panhandle due to COVID-19.
There are 28 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.
Arielle Dreher’s reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and members of the Spokane community. This story may be republished for free by other organizations under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact the editor of our journal.