Vaccination data by race and city a 'must have' to tackle inequities, Stamford official says

Matthew Quinones, President for the City of Stamford Board of Representatives calls to order a special meeting in the Legislative Chambers of the Government Center in Stamford, Conn. on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

Matthew Quinones, President for the City of Stamford Board of Representatives calls to order a special meeting in the Legislative Chambers of the Government Center in Stamford, Conn. on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media

STAMFORD — The president of Stamford’s Board of Representatives has asked the state Department of Health to release COVID-19 vaccination data broken down by race and municipality, saying statewide data isn’t enough to guide local officials looking to tackle inequities in distribution.

The Department of Health recently released data showing that as of Feb. 3 about 56 percent of first doses provided across Connecticut went to people identifying as white. Meanwhile, 3.4 percent of doses went to people identifying as Black, 5.2 percent went to those identifying as Hispanic, 2.6 percent went to those identifying as Asian and about 24 percent went to those identifying as being of another race or multiple races.

But Stamford Board of Representatives President Matthew Quinones said cities and towns need data by municipality to “drive decisions and actions at each level of government.”

“Interpreting the data at the state level does not illustrate whether or how our specific community is perpetuating these inequities,” Quinones wrote in a letter Tuesday to Acting DPH Commissioner Deidre Gifford. “Furthermore, it prevents us from targeting segments of our population that may need additional education and outreach efforts given the historically disproportionate inequities that have existed in our country’s public health system as to racial minority groups.”

Quinones also asked the department to release the gross number of vaccines administered within individual municipalities.

“Currently the reporting appears to highlight the number of residents vaccinated by municipality but neglects the number of vaccines administered at various locations,” he wrote. “As an example, highlighting that the City of Stamford has 7,000+ vaccinated residents ignores the tremendous feat accomplished by our local providers to vaccinate what I can only estimate is over 16,000 patients, who may or may not be residents.”

He noted that vaccine administration comes with “significant indirect costs” for cities and towns.

Without gross numbers, “we will continue to be unaware of which municipalities are shouldering these costs,” Quinones wrote. “Furthermore, future investments will not be able to be allocated to the most efficient and effective providers.”

Earlier this week, Stamford Mayor David Martin said about 8 percent of residents had received a first dose as of Feb. 11. The rate was almost 60 percent for residents over 75 years old.

The city launched a program called No Barriers earlier this year to encourage members of minority communities to get the vaccine and to help them do so. The program has earned the praise of Gov. Ned Lamont.