VDH updates COVID-19 dashboard to more accurately represent impact of vaccines on infection rates

Coronavirus

(Photo: Courtesy U.S. Air National Guard / Jacqueline Marshall via MGN)

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — On Monday, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) updated its COVID-19 Cases by Vaccination Status dashboard in order to better inform the public of the impact of vaccinations on infection rates in the Commonwealth.

According to the VDH, the primary change will be reporting rates of infection, hospitalizations, and deaths by vaccination status — fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, and unvaccinated — to better compare the virus rate between those people.

The department says counts of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths of people who are fully vaccinated — also known as “vaccine breakthrough” — will also be available at the state and health region levels.

Between Jan. 17 and Aug. 14 of 2021, the VDH says 252,938 people developed COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive, almost all of whom were unvaccinated.

During this same time period, health officials say 10,712 infections have been reported among the 4.7 million Virginians who have been fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated people developed COVID-19 at a rate 12.5 times higher than fully vaccinated people.

“VDH will be reporting an increase in vaccine breakthrough infections, hospitalizations, and deaths this week because of an improvement in data processing. This improvement now allows for COVID-19 cases from the Virginia Electronic Disease Surveillance System (VEDSS, where COVID-19 cases including hospitalizations and deaths are collected) to be automatically matched with immunization records in the Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS, where all COVID-19 vaccinations are recorded). Previously, VDH staff were performing the match by hand to determine vaccination status, which took additional time. Please note, all COVID-19 data are preliminary and subject to change and will be updated as quality assurance activities are completed.”

Virginia Department of Health

This announcement comes the same day that the Food and Drug Administration decided to fully approve Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.

Dr. Danny Avula, the Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator, issued the following statement on Monday, Aug. 23 about that FDA approval.

“We at the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) are pleased that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to grant full licensure to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for persons ages 16 years and older. This action comes after rigorous review and study by scientists and other researchers at the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As a result, over 200 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been administered in the United States, with 5,479,907 Pfizer doses administered in Virginia since the vaccination campaign began in late December 2020. The science is clear that this is a safe and effective vaccine that is highly effective in preventing infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and subsequent variants, and in preventing serious illness that could result in hospitalization and/or death.

The Pfizer vaccine, which has been referred to as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, will now be marketed under the brand name ‘Comirnaty.’  The vaccine will continue to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA) for individuals 12 to 15 years of age, and for the administration of a third dose in immunocompromised individuals.”

Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia State Vaccination Coordinator

For more information about COVID-19 data in Virginia, check out the three new posts VDH published on its Data Insights blog about coronavirus attack rates and trends by age groups, vaccine breakthrough infections, and vaccine effectiveness.

For more information on COVID-19 in Virginia, click here. Anyone age 12 or older can find the nearest free vaccination clinics by visiting Vaccinate.Virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users may call 7-1-1).

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