Why the CDC and Washington Dept. of Health vaccine numbers don’t add up

SPOKANE, Wash. — As it stands right now, Washington is reporting just more than 63% of people 16 and older have received their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

It take 70% to open up the state fully before June 30. We’ve been tracking the steady progress of vaccinations since late December. Now, there’s concern the numbers don’t add up.

If you were on social media yesterday, you may have seen a tweet from a couple of White House officials congratulating Washington on reaching the 70% vaccination rate for adults and that would mean the state is fully reopened, but don’t get too excited just yet—the state goes off its own data to determine when we hit that 70% mark.

The difference in numbers has to do with the methods of collecting the information and the efficiency at which its done. The CDC collects vaccine data in several different ways through state, local and territorial immunization information systems. Most of these systems create a centralized data repository for storing vaccine information specific to that state or county.

The next is the Vaccine Administration Management System. This supports places like vaccination clinics and sends the information to the Immunization Information Systems. Finally, direct information into the COVID-19 Data Clearinghouse which is used to analyze and identify vaccine information in the cloud.

In Washington there are two methods the state uses; one is PrepMod, which is a software used in several states. The other is the state’s Immunization Information System which connects with federal systems. So even though there are more resources available at the federal level to track these numbers, the state is still going with its own system of reporting vaccine numbers.

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