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VDH corrects data reporting error for City of Williamsburg vaccines, now at more than 3,000 doses

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Vaccine numbers for the City of Williamsburg were at 136 before the Virginia Department of Health fixed their data to show 3,151 on Friday, Feb. 26. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)

There has been a change in COVID-19 vaccine numbers for the Williamsburg area.

According to a news release from the City of Williamsburg on Feb. 27, the Virginia Health Department (VDH) corrected errors in data reporting regarding the number of Williamsburg residents who received the vaccine.

The total number of vaccinations as of Mar. 3 was 3,665. According to the city’s news release, this represents about 20% of the city’s population. As of Mar. 3, the state average is 15.8% of the population, according to the VDH’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard.

Prior to Feb. 26, VDH’s data showed that only 136 doses of the vaccine had been administered to Williamsburg residents.

“City residents can rest assured that our distribution of the vaccine is comparable to the rest of the state,” Williamsburg City Manager Andrew Trivette said in a statement. “Like many of our residents, we’ve been extremely frustrated that the state dashboard did not reflect the good work being done for our community. We’re pleased that the problem has been corrected.”

Irene Ferrainolo, spokesperson for the Peninsula Health District, wrote in an email on Mar. 2 that the VDH attributed the data error to two factors.

“The first vaccination clinics occurred before the automated scheduling and clinic registration,” she wrote. “This means that all data was on paper forms that then had to be entered manually into the Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS). This caused a delay in the vaccination inclusion in the count.”

The second reason for the error was due to geocoding, Ferrainolo noted, which placed most Williamsburg addresses in the ‘James City County’ column of data instead of the ‘City of Williamsburg.’

Ferrainolo added that she knows of no other localities who experienced issues like this and that the numbers electronically reported are as up-to-date as they can be.

Williamsburg has posted its weekly vaccination update to its online hub, which reports the latest coronavirus information and includes the number of vaccinations administered at the Greater Williamsburg Clinic.

The clinic, which operates out of the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center for James City County and Williamsburg residents, reported having administered 6,467 vaccines since its opening on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, according to the City of Williamsburg’s news release.

VDH continues to handle scheduling vaccine appointments for the Greater Williamsburg Clinic, prioritizing those residents aged 65 and older who pre-registered with the health department. Residents who received their first-dose appointments through their employers will be eligible to receive their second-dose appointments through the same channels.

“A link sent by VDH to schedule a vaccine appointment on Friday, Feb. 26 at the Greater Williamsburg Clinic had been widely shared, resulting in hundreds of illegitimate appointments that had to be canceled,” according to the city’s news release. “People who had their appointments canceled because of this incident remain on the VDH registry and will be contacted at a later date to schedule their appointment when it is their turn. When you are contacted to schedule your appointment, please do not share the link with others.”

City of Williamsburg also noted in the news release that the VDH also announced additional pharmacy networks are beginning to administer COVID-19 vaccines to those aged 65 and older as part of a federal partnership that brought an additional 52,000 vaccines into Virginia this week.

As of Feb. 22, the Peninsula Health District, which includes the City of Williamsburg and James City County, remains in Phase 1B of vaccine distribution.

For questions regarding vaccine distribution in Greater Williamsburg, residents can call the information line at 877-724-1954 on Mondays through Fridays between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the City of Williamsburg’s website or on VDH’s website.

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