For weeks, Missouri data showed the state was doing everything it could to vaccinate multiracial residents against the coronavirus, suggesting more than a third had received doses.
However, on Wednesday, new information from the Missouri Department of Health revealed that the earlier data is likely inaccurate as it overestimates the number of multiracial residents.
Although the misleading information was discussed among state and health leaders, it was nonetheless presented in public records by the state. The racial breakdowns are critical to understanding whether the COVID-19 vaccine is being fairly distributed to minorities.
“When you have all these unknowns … why post it on a website when you know it is not true?” Dr. Rex Archer, director of the Kansas City Health Department, told KCUR on Monday.
While the state has recognized other data problems during weekly virtual meetings, the state is public dashboard previously did not contain a disclaimer. However, according to Lisa Cox, spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the state plans to add a note on Wednesday to clarify the data on multiracial residents.
“We thought it would be a quicker solution, but the more discussions we have with vendors, the more complex the situations get,” Cox said in an email.
It is unclear to what extent the overcount skews the data.
As of 2019, around 17,800 Kansas City, Missouri residents are considered multiracial US census Data. The state data shows that 6,672 multiracial Kansas City residents received at least one dose of vaccine. This suggests that 37% of multiracial residents received doses, more than twice the vaccination rate of the general city population.
“The race data reflects what is reported by the vaccination providers. Due to a known technical problem, vaccinations for residents of multiple races are over counted. We are working to correct this, ”said a note at the end of a table from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services of vaccination dates from the Kansas City area sent to KCUR.
State health officials have been discussing suspected issues with the multiracial data for weeks during weekly justice-centered meetings.
It is unclear what is causing the multiracial count in Missouri, but in a virtual vaccine distribution meeting on February 18, Adam Crumbliss, director of community and public health at the Department of Health, stated the count in the category The “multiracial” category has been a problem at both national and state levels.
“At the state level, we have identified some key partners to work with who we believe we can analyze this data a little better or differently to better reflect reality – the vaccination efforts we are conducting in some of these different color populations, ”said Crumbliss.
The district health authorities asked questions in February the lack of access to local data on vaccination rates by race. The Kansas City Health Department has not released local racial vaccination data due to concerns it wasn’t exactly.
Dr. Archer said Monday the city had identified issues believed to be due to vaccines incorrectly entering racial and ethnic data.
“We basically can’t trust the numbers from the various vaccination providers,” Archer told KCUR.
Cox said the problem appears to be related to issues in the data reported by vaccinators, showing a higher number of “people with more than one race reported” than expected by the state.
Vendors enter demographic information into the ShowMeVax system created by Envision Technology Partners, a Colorado-based company. CEO Steve Murchie said in an email that he is “still trying to get context from Missouri,” but he doesn’t think a technical problem is causing the problem.
“We’re still investigating the problem with multiple vendors. It’s not a quick and easy fix, ”Cox said in an email.
Cox did not answer KCUR questions about when the state first discovered that the data might be inaccurate.