Vaccination in D.C.: All Right We Are Two Nations

And some other lessons. In light of the recent CDC guidance on indoor masking, it’s worth looking at D.C.’s vaccination rates because they highlight the problems the U.S. could face (and which I obviously hope it doesn’t). Here is the percent of all residents vaccinated by ward (note these data were released Monday):

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Ward 3, which is wealthy and very white, has over twice the number of people fully vaccinated as does Ward 8. In terms of fully vaccinated people, D.C. is only missing vaccination on about ten percent of the number that are fully vaccinated according to the C.D.C. Anyone think those ‘missing doses’–which can be due to out-of-state vaccinations or federal allotments–are disproportionately winding up in Wards 7 or 8?

But you might say, well, maybe Wards 7 and 8 are behind, but in a few weeks they’ll catch up. After all, they could be partially vaccinated–and most partially vaccinated people turn into fully vaccinated people. Right?

I don’t think that’s the case unfortunately. D.C., in a very roundabout, unclear way, does release the number of partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated people broken down by ward (I think). If you go to D.C.’s vaccination data site, and click the “adherence” tab, at the bottom, you’ll see a table, the top row of which is called “fully vaccinated.” You’ll note the figure of 498,670. This is, as the kids used to say, UNPOSSIBLE. If D.C. had 86% of its 18 and older population fully vaccinated, you would hear about it. If 71% of D.C.’s entire population were vaccinated, you would hear about it. Again, UNPOSSIBLE. These numbers also don’t match what D.C. reported in the figure shown above.

However, if you sum up the eight ward values, you get a total of 378,152, which is surprisingly close to Monday’s CDC estimate of the number of D.C. residents who are partially or fully vaccinated, 375,304. So I’m going to go out on a limb here, and claim that presentation mistakes were made, and that these values represent the partial and fully vaccinated people by ward. It would be a hell of a coincidence otherwise (data that I managed to save from other weeks seem to suggest this too). Here’s what those data would look like:

Ward part/fully vaxxed % total pop. % 18+ pop.
1 46764 55.8% 64.1%
2 45604 58.6% 62.3%
3 56236 68.0% 80.9%
4 55252 61.4% 78.7%
5 51014 56.6% 68.2%
6 66682 66.8% 77.7%
7 31586 38.5% 50.7%
8 25014 29.0% 41.4%

You’ll note that Wards 7 and 8 are lagging behind, both in terms of the total population that is vaccinated and the 18 and older population that is vaccinated. The total population provides an indication of how much protection everyone has–kids can spread the disease (and contract it)–while the 18 and older figures indicate how many adults have gotten one or more doses (right now, there are very few minors who have been vaccinated).

A couple things leap out. First, outside of Ward 3, there are still too many adults in all wards (though some more than others) who have decided to not even start vaccination yet. For example, it doesn’t surprise me that Ward 2 is doing well comparatively, but I am surprised that 38% of adults haven’t started vaccination. Get it the fuck together, neighbors!

But Wards 7 and 8 are lagging behind in starting vaccination too. One thing the city should consider is keeping all vaccination centers open to 11pm. All close by 7pm, and many close by 5pm. That’s too early for anyone who works and then has some kind of care responsibilities in the evening. It also means that, if a relative or friend bugs someone to get vaccinated in the evening, they won’t have an excuse to brush it off until the next day (and then the next day, and then the next…). Someone who is procrastinating can head out in the evening and just get the shot(s). In addition, D.C. could mandate two days of sick leave for COVID-19 vaccine-related effects for the next few months.

In a larger sense, this divide reflects the U.S., and is why I’m worried about the CDC guidance (again, I really hope I’m wrong). I get the sense walking around (largely Ward 2 these days) that far too many people are acting as if they’re fully vaccinated, when, in fact, most aren’t–and a huge fraction haven’t even started. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not feeling too optimistic about the honor system. Meanwhile, in Wards 7 and 8, I don’t think we’re anywhere near the level of vaccination to really put a significant dent in spread: Ward 7 is averaging twelve daily new cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days, and Ward 8, sixteen (in contrast, Ward 2 has around 1.5 daily new cases per 100,000; Ward 3, 2.5). Just have to hope things don’t get worse in the next few weeks.

All right we are two nations.

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1 Response to Vaccination in D.C.: All Right We Are Two Nations

  1. Pingback: V Is for Victory, V Is for Vaccination | Mike the Mad Biologist

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