The Fairfax County Health Department updated its COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard this week to include demographic data on about 30% of the vaccines administered in the county.
Previously, the Fairfax County Vaccine and Registration Dashboard included the total number of vaccine doses received from the Virginia Department of Health, how many residents were vaccinated by the county’s health department, and the total number of people registered to receive the vaccine.
For the first five months of the vaccine rollout, the county did not comprehensive data about who was receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and how many total doses were being administered in the county as a whole. To find that information, Fairfax residents had to visit the Virginia Department of Health’s vaccine summary page.
But now, residents will have access to a larger swath of data, including the total number of vaccines administered, how many residents have received one or both doses of the vaccine, and vaccination progress by age group (including adolescents aged 12 and older), as well as race and ethnicity.
The updated dashboard also lets residents track the number of vaccine doses administered each day since December, whereas before the update, the county only displayed the number of doses administered each week.
As of May 26, 1,167,425 doses, not including those administered by the federal government, have been administered to Fairfax residents, according to the data. The information shows that 73.8% of all adults (aged 18 and older) in the health district have received at least one dose, and 58.4% are fully vaccinated (with two doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
The federal government has administered about 400,000 vaccine doses statewide, according to state health data, but no detailed breakdown has been provided about those doses.
Among the entire population of the health district, 56.4% have received one dose and 44.6% are fully vaccinated. No vaccines have been approved yet for children under age 12, and the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12-15 was just approved a few weeks ago.
Those numbers differ slightly from what the state health department has reported for Fairfax County. Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, director of epidemiology and population health for the county’s health department, said the reason is because the health department reports residents of Fairfax City and Falls Church City separately from Fairfax County residents, while the dashboard consolidates all three jurisdictions because they are all part of the Fairfax Health District.
The vaccination data displayed on the county’s dashboard was collected through the Virginia Department of Health’s Virginia Immunization Information System – the state’s immunization registry. The race and ethnicity data were collected through the Vaccination Administration Management System (VAMS), which is an appointment-scheduling system – provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – that the county uses to help residents schedule vaccine appointments.
The VAMS system has been used at county health department clinics, the Community Vaccination Center at Tysons Corner Center, the clinic at George Mason University/Eagle Bank Arena, and several outreach clinics, the health district said.
The addition of vaccination demographics, including race, ethnicity and age, comes at a time when the county is ramping up its efforts to vaccinate vulnerable populations, usually lower income and people of color, who are at higher risk of becoming severely ill and dying from COVID-19.
And although race and ethnicity data is now accessible, it is still incomplete. The dashboard includes the percentage of White, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black and Latino populations who have been vaccinated by the county. But those percentages only make up about 30% of all people vaccinated in the Fairfax Health District.
The data that is available does show that a lower proportion of Blacks and Latinos have been vaccinated than white residents. Whites make up about 51% of the health district's population but 56% of all vaccinations. Blacks make up 9.2% of the population but only 6.7% of the vaccinations, and Latinos comprise 16.2% of the population and only 12.6% of vaccinations. Race and ethnic information is not available for about 5% of the doses administered.
Schwartz said the department does not have a timeline for when these numbers will be updated to include all county residents, but the epidemiologist noted the department has hired a private contractor to fix the problem.
“And so, we are hopeful that in the future, the data will be accurate,” Schwartz said. “And when and if that happens...we would then transition to using the more complete data on our dashboard.”