VDH Still Can’t Count

by Carol J. Bova

In a blog post published yesterday, I noted that the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVID-19 dashboard breaks down vaccination status by racial/ethnic group and by age, but not by racial/ethnic groups and age.

Thinking that VDH might possess the data, even if it had chosen not to publish it, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request. The answer can be seen in the screen grab above: “The record does not exist.”

I’m convinced the VDH is back to its old trick of not keeping track of statistics so it can manipulate public perception. If I’m wrong in that, I invite anyone from VDH or the Governor’s Office to come forward and explain how they are missing racial/ethnic information on 353,731 fully vaccinated and 436,056 partly vaccinated individuals. (See the table below.) That’s not counting the 268,386 categorized as “Other” race/ethnicity left out of the percentages, presumably because they belong to one of the groups that are listed. That’s 1.06 million racial/ethnic group unknowns.

At the same time, VDH claims to know the age of everyone receiving a vaccine dose, and the sex of all but just under 22,000 partly and 17,000 fully vaccinated.

Without knowing the racial/ethnic groups of more than a million “Other” and “Not reported,” there is no way to know exactly which group or groups are vaccine-resistant, much less develop an effective plan to contact them and encourage vaccination.

If VDH isn’t being deceptive, then everyone responsible for the accounting is incompetent. Whichever reason it is — deliberate deception or total incompetence — it’s past time for a major shakeup of the organization–from the top down.