Statewide data updates will create more accurate picture of health disparities, vaccinations across Washington state

For immediate release: November 22, 2021 (21-229)Spanish

Contact: DOH Communications

Statewide data updates will create more accurate picture of health disparities, vaccinations across Washington state

OLYMPIA –The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is making changes to the COVID-19 data dashboard, in part to improve how race and ethnicity data is analyzed and shared. Additional improvements will include new metrics regarding children’s vaccines and booster shots.  

Race and ethnicity trend information

Starting today, the state’s  COVID-19 dashboard will provide statewide case, hospitalization, and testing trends by race and ethnicity. DOH acknowledges many challenges in collecting race and ethnicity information for COVID patients. Currently, this information for COVID cases is 60% complete. DOH is working to improve the data quality and completeness from 60% to 80% by the end of the year.

Until now, race and ethnicity data for COVID-19 cases has been provided by public health investigators using patient interviews or medical records. Soon, DOH will also use race and ethnicity data submitted in COVID-19 lab reports for the statewide dashboard. This will help create a clearer picture of where more work needs to be done to close the gap regarding the state’s ongoing health disparities.

Information can be found on the dashboard for the following groups:

  • Hispanic
  • American Indian/Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black
  • Multi-racial/Other
  • Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and
  • White

“Many communities experience poorer health outcomes because of social inequities related to race, culture, identity or where they live. The presentation of COVID-19 trend data by race and ethnicity is a positive step towards monitoring health outcomes of racial and ethnic minority groups,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “We are committed to reexamining our priorities and the way we do our work to ensure we are being equitable. This enhancement to our COVID-19 data is a step in that direction.”

Children’s vaccinations and booster shots

DOH will also add two new sets of vaccination data to the DOH COVID-19 dashboard: vaccination data for children 5 to 11, and data around both third doses and booster doses.

Improving both the ethnic and racial data and adding vaccine metrics is critical to creating better understanding about vaccine uptake across the state and addressing the unique social and structural challenges that various racial and ethnic populations face.

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