As state health departments continue their COVID-19 vaccination efforts and work to stop the spread of the virus, a lack of data compromises their ability to perform either task effectively, a reality that could prolong the pandemic.
In some cases, test results are shared using outdated methods such as faxes and may not include demographics information required to perform contact tracing. Likewise, the deployment of the vaccine has highlighted problems with data; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that it is missing data on the race and ethnicity of almost half of those who were vaccinated. This makes it difficult to track inequalities in vaccine distribution and understand when restrictions could be safely lifted.
Without real time, full data, public health agencies cannot do their job. The federal government can help make …
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