In Depth: Kansas, Missouri officials explain vaccine rollout data

GVMH vaccination site.jpeg
Posted at 6:49 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 19:49:44-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The 41 Action News Investigative Team continues to track the number of distributed vaccine doses actually ending up in arms in Missouri and Kansas.

Last Thursday, the percentage of distributed doses administered in Missouri was 66%.

Nearly a week later, the figure is up to 73%.

In a media briefing Wednesday, representatives from the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services and from Gov. Mike Parson's office explained how the rollout is going and what is being done to get more people vaccinated quickly.

"We become concerned when there's a vaccinator or a region that's not administering or reporting those vaccines within a timely fashion," Parson's Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Knodell said. "We are very aggressive in making sure those shots get into arms as quickly as possible."

Knodell said providers are being told to administer first doses within seven days of receiving them.

He also talked about fluctuations in the data on the state's COVID-19 vaccine dashboard.

Information changes by the day and even the hour. The gap between doses delivered and ones administered widens any time a new shipment is entered into the system.

"Then that gap is going to close as the week goes on, as those doses are administered. And then next week, when doses arrive, it opens back up. So that number is a moving target," Knodell said.

An example of those changes can be seen on the dashboard for Kansas as well.

On Wednesday morning, the data showed 62% of distributed doses administered.

However, as the day went on and the system was updated, that decreased to 60%, which is the percentage 41 Action News reported for the state last week.

Still, Gov. Laura Kelly's chief COVID-19 advisor said the data is not capturing what's actually going on in Kansas.

"It's not reflective. There are a number of doses that we know have been administered to people but aren't counted in that administered dose rate," Dr. Marci Nielsen said.

There are several technical reasons for the delay.

First, Nielsen explained that some providers, from hospitals to local health departments, are still struggling to get their data into the system.

There are more than 100 different entities that must upload information about administered doses.

"What we're doing is calling each one and offering to help them manually input the information, to upload the files on their behalf," Nielsen said.

Another snag in the data is the fact that the system does not allow for the recording of any administered doses transferred from one provider to another in need.

Nielsen emphasized all doses are accounted for, and the state has instructed providers not to sit on any supplies.

"We are constantly looking at ways we can improve our system, and we will do whatever it takes to ensure as many Kansans as quickly as possible are able to get access to the vaccine," she said.

Like Missouri, Kansas is also asking CVS and Walgreens to give back any doses that were not used for the federal long-term care facility program. The state expects to receive about 28,000 doses to redistribute.

As vaccine allocations increase over time, Nielsen said the state also plans to work with partners to set up more mass vaccination sites.