Maine is publishing far less information online about the progress of its COVID-19 vaccination program than numerous other states.

Maine’s COVID-19 vaccination page lists only the cumulative total of doses given to date, plus the subtotals of first and second doses.

That’s a far cry from the information published by states like Vermont, Massachusetts, Michigan and Pennsylvania, for example, which list detailed vaccine data on immunizations by geography, race, age and other categories.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a media briefing on Monday that Maine’s vaccine dashboard will “very soon” be updated to regularly include a trove of information similar to what other states are now doing.

“Make no mistake, we hope to have similar demographic data up on the website very, very soon,” Shah said. “It can’t come soon enough.”

Shah said it’s a high priority for the Maine CDC’s vaccine dashboard to have “accurate data, automated in real-time that answers questions that we have.”

Shah said he did not have a timetable, but he hoped the vaccine dashboard would be ready to be unveiled to the public within the next two weeks.

Joshua Michaud, associate director for global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a Washington-based research center, said the detailed vaccine dashboards states are publishing are invaluable for the public and experts to evaluate how the vaccine plan is working or falling short.

“These vaccine dashboards serve primarily to provide the public with transparency and accountability with how well the vaccine rollout is going,” Michaud said. “It can show whether progress is being made toward reaching the very important goal of protecting groups from COVID-19.”

Michaud said a metric showing where the vaccine is being administered can help identify whether the distribution of the vaccine is disproportionately going to certain places, helping to determine whether the rollout has been equitable.

Shah has frequently said the goal of the COVID-19 immunization program in Maine is to vaccinate with “velocity and equity” to, for instance, make sure that minority populations are not being overlooked.

Maine has given 49,794 first doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, and 5,981 second doses. According to Bloomberg News vaccine tracker, Maine has given four doses for every 100 residents as of Monday, the third-highest rate in the country after West Virginia and South Dakota.

But Maine so far has fallen short in providing detailed vaccine data.

For comparison, Massachusetts issues a 10-page weekly report with detailed information on shipments, with breakdowns by age groups, race and counties of where people are being immunized. One page shows where vaccine doses were shipped as a percentage of the county population, so the public can see any inequities in where doses are going. Another dataset details at what sites people are receiving their shots, which is so far showing hospitals are performing about 80 percent of the vaccinations in Massachusetts. Throughout the country, health care workers are among the first to get immunized.

While there doesn’t appear to be a centralized location of vaccine data that shows what’s happening in all states, individual states are quickly putting up vaccine dashboards. Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee and Ohio are among the states that have either already published vaccine dashboards or are expected to shortly.

As more states come online with vaccine data, it’s likely that public health sites that have been tracking the pandemic in a number of ways, including by state, will serve as central locations for publishing the vaccine data and analyzing it by state. Some websites that have been doing this for other pandemic data include the Harvard Global Health Institute, The COVID-19 Tracking Project and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

“This is very important for public accountability,” said Michaud, at Kaiser Family Foundation.


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