As the state began the massive undertaking of distributing the coronavirus vaccine, its early rollout was beset by data problems that left state officials with immunization and dose information that was outdated, incomplete and sometimes misleading.Health care providers feared those inaccurate numbers, collected by the state’s immunization registry, ImmTrac2, and another system were being used by the state to decide who would get the weekly allotment of vaccine — and by others to decide who would get blamed for moving too slowly as a desperate public clamored for shots.Health officials say the registry data were not used to dole out vaccines in the early weeks of the rollout — that’s a misconception, they said — but added that the data they’re collecting with ImmTrac2 could soon become a central factor in how many vaccine doses Texas gets from the federal government going forward.In the first six weeks of the vaccine rollout, the federal government allocated doses based largely on population, but will likely start using the vaccination rate — how fast doses are going into arms — as “at least a piece of their allocation process,” said Lara Anton, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services, which runs the registry.
Got to say I'm still concerned with a process so dysfunctional it can dole out more injections into more people than it has capacity for. This is a two-shot vaccine, but the numbers indicate about 1/3rd of the people who can be vaccinated will have to get it 3 times before they're through. And who figures out who got it twice in a timely manner, and who needs it 3 times to catch up? The same people doing this?
After the staff at Austin’s Tarrytown Pharmacy hustled to vaccinate 500 vulnerable Texans and front-line workers over the holidays, pharmacist Rannon Ching logged into an online state system used to track the vaccines.
Then he panicked.
According to the system, his Tarrytown pharmacy hadn’t vaccinated anyone. The numbers on his screen indicated all 500 doses were still sitting on his shelf.
“I freaked out thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re not going to give me any [more] doses because they think I’m not giving anything,’” Ching said.
And did the pharmacy vaccinate 500 people assuming it would get 500 more doses for those same people? The Governor tore a page from Trump's playbook, and took to Twitter to blame the pharmacies:
On Dec. 29, the day Ching noticed his numbers hadn’t been recorded by the state, Abbott admonished health care providers to speed it up, suggesting that doses may be “sitting on hospital shelves” while Texans clamored for vaccines.
The next morning, Ching’s pharmacy was bombarded with calls from people anxious to be vaccinated. He had no shots left.
Ching initially blamed himself. He’d worked hard — hurriedly calling nursing homes and doctors’ offices to offer them vaccines when they arrived with little notice — and had kept his staff until the evening tapping information about each dose they gave into their own electronic health records system.
But Ching quickly discovered a problem. His pharmacy’s electronic records weren’t syncing with ImmTrac2.
He emailed state health officials to tell them. Ultimately, four of his employees had to re-enter all the information by hand, a task that took six hours on Dec. 30 — the day after Abbott’s tweet.
We got rid of Trump yesterday. The Trump Effect, however, lingers. We're gonna pay for that for a long, long time.