After publishing wrong COVID-19 vaccine numbers, Santa Clara County blames technical error
Blanca Alvarado gives a thumbs up after receiving her COVID-19 vaccine at the Mexican Heritage Plaza.

    Santa Clara County published inaccurate demographic data on its COVID-19 vaccination dashboard and only updated the errors after San José Spotlight brought it to officials’ attention.

    “There’s a discrepancy in the data,” Santa Clara County spokesperson Roger Ross confirmed Thursday. “We have been looking into it.”

    The majority of the data on the county’s vaccination dashboard is accurate, including its total COVID-19 case count, but a data analysis shows that some of the numbers of those who have gotten the vaccines were off by thousands to hundreds of thousands.

    “I have talked to the county’s leadership, and IT is working on it,” Supervisor Otto Lee told San José Spotlight before the update took place. “It looks like a data glitch, … and it is not anything intentional.”

    Lee also added that the county has not used the incorrect data in making its decisions. Officials could not explain the source of these errors Thursday.

    Some of the numbers published on the county’s dashboard were drastically different from the numbers in the county’s own data source.

    As of March 3, the county reported that 313,447 eligible residents had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The county’s data, available to the public on its data portal, shows that more than 182,000 female residents and 131,000 male residents have been vaccinated. But under the dashboard, those numbers were at 382,790 and 293,598, respectively. That totals more than 676,388 vaccinated residents.

    Screenshot of the county’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard at 2:15 p.m. showing the false data.

    The discrepancy continued in the data broken down by race and ethnicity on the county’s dashboard. For example, the chart inaccurately showed that 236,994 eligible Asian residents and 274,652 eligible white residents had received at least one vaccine dose. The dashboard now shows those numbers are at 116,769 and 117,170.

    Screenshot of the county’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard at 2:15 p.m. showing the false data.

    The county, following requests from Supervisors Cindy Chavez and Otto Lee, started releasing COVID-19 vaccination data by demographic in early February.

    The new sets of data were also added to the county’s daily tracker. The data has shed light on the disparities in vaccination distribution among different areas and racial groups in the county, where hardest-hit communities were getting the vaccines at the lowest rates.

    “These data are why we were able to open vaccination clinics in the hardest-hit communities,” Lee said. “The important thing is that we make sure that people are getting the vaccines.”

    Santa Clara County has opened 20 vaccination sites across the area, with more to come. It recently moved into the red tier with less restrictive rules that allow indoor dining to reopen again.

    Supervisors Cindy Chavez, Susan Ellenberg and Joe Simitian did not respond to inquiries for comment late Thursday.

    Contact Tran Nguyen at [email protected] or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter. 

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