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COVID-19

Texas Health Officials Say They're Trying To Improve Data On Who Is Getting A COVID-19 Vaccine

People wait in line to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Delco Activity Center last month.
Julia Reihs
/
KUT
People wait in line to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Delco Activity Center last month.

Texas health officials say they are trying to collect better demographic data on who has gotten a coronavirus vaccine in the state.

Currently, almost half of the state's vaccination data is missing information about race or ethnicity.

Imelda Garcia, associate commissioner for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said the state is trying to get vaccine providers to do a better job reporting the information.

“Improving our data continues to be a top priority for us here,” she said during a press briefing Thursday.

Communities of color have been disproportionately affected by COVID and are at risk of having less access to a vaccine. That’s why advocates have said it’s important to keep track of whether racial minorities are being vaccinated in Texas.

The state’s data hasn’t been helpful in tracking this, however. So far, the data reports that 45% of people vaccinated are of an “unknown” race.

Garcia said the agency recently changed the "front end" of ImmTrac2, the Texas Immunization Registry system, to require providers to report race and ethnicity before they move on to other parts of the data entry process.

“Hopefully that will really start to improve the quality of the data moving forward,” she said.

State health officials have said it's largely up to vaccine providers to make sure they are asking these questions and then reporting the information they gather back to the state. Garcia said they have reminded groups about the importance of reporting complete data in a timely matter.

“We continue to remind our providers on every single webinar and every call that ... the expectation is that they submit every dose administered within 24 hours," Garcia said, "and, importantly, they need to be providing the race and ethnicity data."

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