SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – An error by Utah health officials means the state did not meet the July 4 vaccination goal, despite earlier reports.
President Joe Biden had set a goal to have 70% of Americans having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. States took on the challenge individually too, hoping to reach the same goal locally.
On July 5, health officials confirmed Utah had fallen short by about 8%.
The next day, Utah Governor Spencer Cox’s office changed course,, saying that after federal doses had been counted, Utah had reached the July 4 goal with 70.2% of those 18-years-old and older receiving at least one shot.
“This is truly a milestone worth celebrating!” his office said.
Now, nearly a week later, state officials are again walking the data back.
In a Monday release, the Utah Department of Health says they have “discovered an error in the way the Department had previously been interpreting federal vaccination data.”
Rather than the previously reported 70.2% of adult Utahns receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the actual rate as of July 12 is 67.07%.
“Welp. We screwed up,” Gov. Cox admits. “I hope you will forgive us – and know we have made changes to ensure it won’t happen again.”
UDOH explains the latest data includes 1,495,752 doses reported through the state’s data system and 29,880 doses reported through the federal data system, for a total of 1,525,632 total first doses administered to Utahns ages 18 and older.
Based on the 2019 adult population, this results in just 67.07% of Utah’s adult population.
“Our data team is devastated and embarrassed. And so am I,” Gov. Cox says in a letter, seen above, to his fellow Utahns.
According to UDOH, COVID-19 vaccines doses administered by federal agencies – like the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Services, and the Bureau of Prisons – are not reported directly to the state’s immunization data system. Instead, staff has to access the data through a federal system.
“The UDOH mistakenly interpreted all federal doses reported in Tiberius as ‘new’ doses, when in fact Tiberius reports ‘cumulative’ doses. This misunderstanding led to single doses being counted multiple times,” health officials explain.
“We will continue to hold ourselves accountable,” Gov. Cox adds.