After a long period of silence, the Government is releasing detailed information about progress on Covid-19 vaccinations. But the data seems to show a big discrepancy between early predicted targets and actual numbers. Data specialist Chris McDowall checks the figures.
Yesterday afternoon the Ministry of Health released its vaccine dashboard. The underlying data provides the first detailed view into how the vaccination rollout is going.
At midnight on Tuesday, 90,286 doses of the Pfizer vaccine had been administered and entered into the Covid-19 Immunisation Register. This number can be further split into 71,013 first doses and 19,273 second doses.
The dashboard's most intriguing element is a chart comparing the planned number of vaccinations against the number of doses actually administered. The Herald has reproduced the chart below with data supplied by the ministry.
The chart above suggests the rollout is proceeding according to plan. Each week the number of doses administered appears very close to the forecast.
However, the dashboard's planned vaccinations dotted line differs greatly from a March 17 Ministry of Health chart titled Illustration of volumes and timing of vaccination rollout. The earlier chart suggested tens of thousands of more vaccinations would be occuring each week from mid-March.
It is unclear why these rollout plan documents differ so greatly.
Ambiguity over forecast numbers was further complicated last night by a Ministry of Health planning document leaked to the National Party.
The current dashboard only shows retrospective targets. It would be helpful if the ministry would release clear future targets for the coming weeks to clarify the situation.
The rest of the data released yesterday offers welcome insights into who is receiving the vaccine and how the rollout is progressing.
This bar chart demonstrates how many people have received the vaccine each day since the rollout began in late February. It suggests that the number of people vaccinated from week-to-week was relatively static for the first month of the rollout.
Vaccinations ramped up during the second half of March as some people started receiving the second dose. Easter interrupted this upward trend. At yesterday's media update Bloomfield indicated the ministry expected significantly higher vaccination numbers for next week's data release.
This map shows how many people have received a first and second dose of the Pfizer vaccine by district health Bbard. The size of the outer circle indicates how many people have received their first dose and the smaller inner circle represents the number of people who are fully vaccinated.
Vaccinations are not evenly distributed across health boards. The greatest number of vaccinations are in the health boards that cover Auckland, Waikato and the Greater Wellington area. These districts are where the highest numbers of border and MIQ workers live. As the rollout's focus shifts to high-risk frontline workers we should expect to see more vaccinations in other parts of the country.
The West Coast DHB has not vaccinated anyone. Whanganui and MidCentral have administered fewer than 200 doses.
Note that in some cases a person may travel to a different DHB to get vaccinated.
The table above shows that Asian people have the highest rate of vaccinations and Māori have the lowest uptake to date.
The dashboard provides a summary of vaccination doses administered by gender.
Nearly 10,000 more females (40,066) have received a first dose of the vaccine than males (30,853). Despite this, more males (10,061) have received a second dose than females (9,172). The reason for these differences are unclear.
During today media update question time, Bloomfield offered some insights into how rollout plan targets are set.
"The DHBs supplied their rolling plans through to the end of April and that's the basis of the figures provided yesterday. And [the day before] we also received plans from the end of April through to the end of June about how they are continuing to scale up."
The Herald has requested an overview of these plans, including the Government's targets for the next three months.