Missouri admits multiracial vaccination data likely flawed
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Weeks of public data presented by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that suggests a high rate of COVID-19 vaccinations for multiracial residents is likely inaccurate, state officials said.
The state revealed Wednesday that the earlier data overcounted residents with more than one racial heritage, KCUR reported. As a result, the publicly available information suggesting that more than one-third of multiracial Missourians has received shots is likely wrong. Officials say it’s unclear to what extent the overcounting skewed the data.
Health officials say accurate racial breakdowns are critical to understanding if the vaccine is being equitably distributed to minority communities.
As of Thursday, the state dashboard’s link to vaccination data includes a disclaimer that reads: “Race data reflects what is reported by the vaccination providers. Due to a known technical issue, vaccinations of multi-race residents are being over-counted. We are working to correct this.”
Health department spokeswoman Lisa Cox said the state initially hoped to be able to correct the data quickly, “but the more conversations we have with providers, the more we find further complexities of the situation,” she told KCUR in an email.
Census data shows about 17,800 residents of Kansas City, Missouri, identify as multiracial. State data shows that 6,672 multiracial Kansas City residents have received at least one vaccine dose. That suggests 37% of multiracial residents have received a shot, which would be more than double the general population vaccination rate in Kansas City.
The Kansas City Health Department hasn’t published local data on vaccinations by race because of concerns that it wasn’t accurate.
“We basically can’t trust the numbers going in by the different providers that are vaccinating,” Kansas City Health Department Director Rex Archer said.
Cox also said the problem appeared to be related to data reported by vaccinators. She said that data shows a higher number of “individuals reported with more than one race” than what the state expects.
The state on Thursday reported 530 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and three new deaths. Missouri has cited 482,224 confirmed cases and 8,300 deaths since the pandemic began.
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