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IDHW to publish race & ethnicity data on COVID-19 vaccinations

Posted at 7:45 AM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 11:13:52-05

IDAHO — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is preparing to publish race and ethnicity data for COVID-19 vaccinations by the end of the week.

“We do have the capability to accept add race and ethnicity into IRIS, our immunization registry. This is not a mandatory field for the patients to report,“ said Elke Shaw-Tulloch, IDHW Public Health Administrator.

If healthcare providers received race and ethnicity information from a patient during the vaccination appointment, providers would then have to submit the data into Idaho’s Immunization Reminder Systems (IRIS).

“We’re currently reviewing that data that we do have in the system to determine the best way to make that publicly available given those limitations. We hope to have it post it this week," Shaw-Tulloch said.

The Department of Health and Welfare has vaccine administration transparency data which shows the number of doses distributed and administered from vaccine providers.

Shaw-Tulloch said the race and ethnicity data would help to ensure equity in COVID-19 distributions.

“We can then used that at a state level where we see maybe gaps of racial-ethnic minorities and where we need to put a special emphasis,” Shaw-Tulloch explained. “We want to make sure to get the vaccine as quickly as possible and getting it out as equitably as possible.”

On Tuesday, IDHW said it would require people to submit proof of residency or employment in the state to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Health officials said people who are currently eligible, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, are able to get the vaccine and say any documents provided will not be copied or recorded.

“We do estimate that there’s about 38,000 to 41,000 that work in Idaho but do not live in Idaho. They can still get vaccinated here,” said Dave Jeppesen, IDHW Director. “About 4,800 people have been vaccinated who didn’t live or work in Idaho.”