Tracking the vaccine: Local health departments have to record and report every shot in the arm

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Distributing the COVID-19 vaccine is not a simple as injecting a needle. Every dose and every recipient has to be tracked and reported.

On Thursday, Governor Spencer Cox admitted that some technical problems have been a barrier to getting the vaccine into Utahns’ arms.

“It has been a hurdle to overcome,” he said at a news briefing from the Capitol.

Providers have administered 133,202 doses of vaccine so far in Utah, 8,318 on Wednesday alone. Tracking, recording, and reporting each of those injections has presented a huge challenge to local health departments.

“So what we’re doing is we’ve been auditing the system over the past week, really over the past two weeks,” Gov. Cox said. “Actually physically counting the doses that they have in storage, looking at the paperwork, making sure that all of that matches up with what’s gone through the Federal reporting system and working to overcome any discrepancies.”

Many health departments are using tablet computers and QR codes to record vaccine and patient information at the time of the shot.

 Health officials in Davis County started preparing for the process last summer and it continues to evolve while inoculating as many as 2,000 people a day. ABC4 News asked Community Health Services Director Ivy Melton Sales if they’ve hit any snags or bumps in the road.

“I wouldn’t call them snags or bumps but we have identified some things that make us more efficient when it comes to our data collection process,” she said. “We have changed our processes and our training with our staff and we have also worked with our information systems to make improvements to the way our program works and it’s just increasing efficiencies as we go along.”

 Governor Cox says accurate reporting from all departments by 7 o’clock each morning is crucial. 

“It’s important because as we move forward that’s how we’re going to get more doses,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how many we’ve actually done. It matters how many we’ve reported. That’s how the Federal ordering system will work to replace those doses. So if we’ve administered 20,000 more doses than have been reported, those vaccines will not be replaced and we’ll lose out in the race to get this done.”

Governor Cox says that right now Utah does not have enough doses of the vaccine to immunize all Utahns aged 70 and above and until we have that inventory, he cannot lower the age to 65.

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