February 2, 2021 (New York) – As U.S. states race to counter the spread of COVID-19 by vaccinating their populations, critical information needed to maximize speed, safety and equity of the vaccination programs are missing. Today, Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies, released a new report outlining recommended vaccine data indicators to inform COVID-19 response efforts and provide transparency on vaccine rollout.
“Vaccines are our most important tool in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director and current President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, which provides evidence-based technical and programmatic support to local governments through its US COVID Response initiative. “But vaccines don’t save lives, vaccination programs do. Vaccination programs can help end the Covid pandemic and help get us to a new normal. But vaccination programs need to use and transparently share information in order to maximize speed, safety and equity. The Federal government and states should collaborate to include these six key indicators in public reporting.”
The newly released report examines publicly available COVID-19 vaccine data released by U.S. states and recommends six indicators that together convey a high-level view of COVID-19 vaccination program effectiveness. These indicators are critical to ensuring that vaccine distribution is fast, equitable, and transparent. This data will equip states with information to design more tailored distribution and help identify best practices.
The recommended indicators include:
- Current phase of vaccination, including who is eligible to be vaccinated now
- Number of full vaccine regimens distributed to state per person
- Percentage of population that could be fully vaccinated with doses distributed
- Percentage of doses administered
- Percentage of the population that have begun vaccination
- Percentage of the population fully vaccinated, including by race/ethnicity and long-term care facility
Although the vast majority of states already make some data on their COVID-19 vaccine rollout available to the public, essential information is lacking. For example, only 21 of 46 dashboards included stratified data on vaccine coverage by race and ethnicity, which is essential in the assessment of equity in vaccine distribution, particularly among historically marginalized groups. While all 46 states reported some information on vaccine coverage, only 10 reported the percentage of population that had been fully vaccinated, the ultimate indicator of a successful vaccination program.
The indicators were reviewed and endorsed by leading public health organizations, including The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the American Public Health Association, Trust for America’s Health and The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.
“Our approach to vaccination must center on equity,” added Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association. “Communities of color have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and are the least likely to have access to the vaccine. Transparent data is a crucial step in working to remedy this.”
In addition to a lack of demographic data, the report found inconsistent use of terminology and metrics preventing accurate comparisons across states and jurisdictions. Vaccine data was often siloed from other important COVID-19 data: only 16 states have integrated vaccine data into their existing dashboards. As a new tool in COVID-19 response, vaccination should be integrated with existing COVID-19 response data and strategies.
“Meaningful and usable information, readily and easily located, can help states to adjust distribution and manage expectations, especially when trying to prioritize historically marginalized communities,” said Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, the Director of Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Team.
In addition to the recommended vaccine data indicators released today, Resolve to Save Lives previously produced a list of 15 essential COVID-19 indicators.
Read the complete report here.
To watch the full video from the media briefing, click here.
Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: [email protected]; +1.914.424.3356
Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: [email protected]; +1.646.612.0001
Steven Chlapecka, Resolve to Save Lives: [email protected]; +1.917.623.0246
Bob Ensinger, APHA: bob.[email protected], +1.202.777.2501
About Resolve to Save Lives
Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, aims to prevent at least 100 million deaths from cardiovascular disease and epidemics. Resolve is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is part of the global health organization Vital Strategies. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL.
Resolve to Save Lives created a website called PreventEpidemics.org that shows how prepared each country is for an epidemic. This site is also a resource for current coronavirus statistics and resources, including a weekly science review and COVID-19 insights.
About Vital Strategies
Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.
About The American Public Health Association
APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org or Twitter @PublicHealth.
About Dr. Tom Frieden
Dr. Tom Frieden is former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and former commissioner of the New York City Health Department. He is currently president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies. Resolve to Save Lives works with countries to prevent 100 million deaths and to make the world safer from epidemics. Follow Dr. Frieden on Twitter @DrTomFrieden.