COVID vaccine information, availability to be posted on state website dashboard
BOISE — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare plans to launch a COVID-19 vaccine dashboard on its website soon.
The department is currently operating an interactive dashboard where Idahoans can track information broken down by state and county regarding the COVID pandemic. A similar Tableau dashboard will be launching as soon as this week featuring information pertaining to the vaccine rollout.
“We are committed to communication and transparency in data, and have been from the very beginning of this pandemic,” IDHW Director Dave Jeppesen said in a virtual press conference Tuesday.
The new dashboard will be broken down within the state by county, like the pandemic dashboard, but also by health districts. Users of the dashboard should expect to find tracking information of the state’s allotment of vaccine doses.
Thus far, the state has received 83,475 doses. Nearly 21,000 vaccines have been administered to frontline healthcare workers designated part of group “1A.”
That amount puts the state behind their target projection of 20,000 doses administered per week. But IDHW Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch expects that number to continue to climb, which it has each of the first three weeks of activity.
Along with the shortened work schedules during each of the previous two weeks due to holidays, Shaw-Tulloch expects efficiency to improve over time. Shaw-Tulloch, in agreement with Jeppesen, noted that due its volatility, the handling of the vaccine made aunching clinics difficult. Efficiency will greatly improve with time and experience, she added.
“Our first priority is always to ensure that we have the proper handling, administration and tracking [of the vaccine] … with the goal of vaccinating every Idahoan who wants a vaccine,” Shaw-Tulloch said.
“This is not your typical vaccine administration effort,” Jeppesen noted. “There was a lot to learn in a very short period of time over the past three weeks.”
Even at the expected rate of 20,000 doses administered per week, the state would administer vaccinations to 1.04 million Idahoans over the entirety of 2021. The current state population exceeds 1.87 million, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau information, meaning there is a gap that needs to be filled.
There are expectations beyond improved clinic efficiency to remedy this gap.
“Our hope is that two things happen,” Jeppesen said. “One is that production ramps up more quickly than expected of the existing vaccines, and there is some hope for that…The second is, we are expecting more vaccines to be approved — AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are pretty far along in their clinical trials.”
Updates in this process would also be information Idahoans would be able to track through the IDHW and its dashboards.
Data on the dashboard will be, what IDHW Administration Program Manager Sarah Leeds called, evolutionary. Information will be updated daily, with new pages of data added as collected and deemed necessary.
“Once we have more data, I see us being able to produce more analysis on some things.”
Jeppesen discussed the need, as the state moves forward with vaccinations, being greater than ever for Idahoans to continue to adhere to mask and social distancing protocols, adding that it is now “more critical than ever.”
“We are in the final stretch, but this is going to be a challenge,” Governor Brad Little said. “It’s going to take a lot of effort, and not by just the 240 providers that we have but by the public.”