Indiana’s COVID-19 vaccination performance: why some data points don’t show the whole picture

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INDIANAPOLIS — When you first look at data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on COVID-19 vaccination progress, you might find several different ways to explore statistics and maps.

One statistic that may jump out in particular is: based on current numbers reported to the CDC, Indiana ranks 42nd out of all 50 states, plus Washington D.C., when it comes to the percentage of a state’s population that has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Approximately 18.4% of people in Indiana have received at least one shot of the vaccine, according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.

That number might look concerning at face value, but before anyone jumps to conclusions, Dr. Shaun Grannis, Vice President of Data and Analytics with the Regenstrief Institute encourages people to take a look at multiple data points to get a better understanding of the state’s vaccination progress.

“There are different ways to measure our performance on vaccination,” said Dr. Grannis. “I think there are three statistics that we need to take a look at to understand the full picture.”

The first statistic that Dr. Grannis encouraged Hoosiers look at is the percentage of total vaccine supply Indiana has received and how much has been administered.

“If you rank Indiana by how much of their supply they been able to use, Indiana’s at 16,” said Dr. Grannis. “They’re doing a good job getting what they have out to people.”

A spokesperson for ISDH said the number of vaccines that the state has received and administered, to date, is approximately 79 percent.

“We have seen a significant demand for the vaccine,” said an ISDH representative.

The state health department said although its priority is working to get vaccines into the arms of Hoosiers as quickly as possible, they can only administer the number of doses they receive, which are allocated by the federal government.

The second area Dr. Grannis said Hoosiers should look at, is the one previously mentioned, which breaks down the percentage of a state’s population that has received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Grannis said, “If you look at the number of folks with at least one shot, we’re lower in the list.”

The third data point Dr. Grannis encourages Hoosiers to take a look at is the percentage of Hoosiers fully vaccinated and where that ranks them among all states.

“The 11 percent number is how many Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Grannis. “Among all states if we look at who’s been fully vaccinated and how much of our inventory have, we used, we’re actually in the top third.”

Grannis said Indiana sits at number 17 among all states when it comes to percentage of the state’s population that is considered fully vaccinated.

A single statistic may be misinterpreted if people do not look to the different ways data is reported on COVID-19 vaccinations.

“It depends on the statistic that you look at, and I don’t think we should look at a single statistic as we think about this,” Dr. Grannis shared.

Dr. Grannis said he believes the state has done a good job setting up distribution sites and making people aware of where they can be vaccinated.

“I’m optimistic and confident that given the statistics I see overall, not just looking at a single statistic, I think that Indiana has an infrastructure that can meet the demand for vaccines,” he said.

Is the state of Indiana being allocated a supply of vaccines proportionate to the state’s population?

Dr. Grannis said, several weeks ago, data experts did a quick, “back-of-the-napkin analysis,” which showed “it did, in fact, appear vaccines being distributed are roughly proportional to the population size.”

“This is an unprecedented approach and I think we’re all learning through this process and what I see from a statistical ranking perspective, Indiana is doing very well,” Dr. Grannis added.

Officials with the Hamilton County Health Department said they have experienced huge success in their vaccination progress.

“We’ve vaccinated over 70,000 residents that received their first dose,” said Christian Walker, Public Health Preparedness Coordinator for the Hamilton Co. Health Dept.

48,000 people who have received shots in Hamilton Co. were considered fully vaccinated as of Friday morning.

The progress made ranks them third in the state out of all counties. “We’re punching well above our weight class, I would say,” shared Walker.

He said the county receives about 3,500 vaccines per week and as of Friday morning, 99.5% of vaccine appointments were booked.

“Which shows exactly how high that demand is,” he shared. “That’s basically a month out.”

CBS4 News also reached out to several other area health departments, including Marion County.

A spokesperson for the Marion Co. Public Health Dept. said, “The vaccine rollout has gone very well for MCPHD, and residents are extremely grateful to have an opportunity to get the vaccine. We have had ample vaccine at our site for those eligible who made an appointment to get vaccinated.”

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