Just as the province ramps up its COVID-19 immunization effort to deliver more than 6,000 doses daily, the Manitoba government has fallen behind in reporting its performance owing to data entry delays.
Last week, officials with the COVID-19 vaccine implementation task force said Manitoba would perform as many as 7,000 immunizations at the province’s five mass vaccination clinics on Monday.
And with more appointments scheduled at pop-up clinics, pharmacists and doctors' offices on Monday, it would have been the greatest single day of immunizations since the campaign began in mid-December.
However, according to provincial data, just 2,914 doses were administered across the province on Monday.
A provincial spokesman said the data reported Tuesday was accurate, but subject to adjustments, as more data is input.
"Due to the large number of vaccinations, there is a lag in data inputting on site," a spokesman said in a statement to the Free Press.
From now on, the province has said there will be a 48-hour to 72-hour delay in reporting immunizations performed at mass vaccination clinics, despite the province’s Public Health Information Management System being updated in real time as the doses are given to people at the clinic.
Based on provincial data, 17,687 doses have been administered in the past four days, with 7,230 doses given on Friday.
As of Tuesday, 194,040 doses had been given to people in Manitoba, including doses offered to First Nations individuals, representing about 78 per cent of the inventory the province has received from the federal government.
Previously, public health officials have noted that data entry delays of up to two days should be expected for doses administered by physicians and pharmacists as well as by focused immunization teams.
The Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team reports its immunization data independently of the provincial government and updates its figures on a weekly basis.
Data entry lags have factored into the provincial government’s pandemic response since early in the second wave. Since the fall, active COVID-19 cases have been over reported due to lags in updating recoveries.
More recently, the provincial government did not update the number of COVID-19 cases connected to outbreaks in personal care homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals between March 3 and 28, as "staff responsible for this work were deployed to front-line positions in the public health response," a provincial spokesperson said.
NDP Opposition Leader Wab Kinew said the most recent delays in data entry for COVID-19 immunizations, particularly at mass vaccination clinics, are not acceptable.
"They should be the most able to update the data in real-time and I do think it’s a very important accountability issue," Kinew said Tuesday. "In order for the public to have confidence in this vaccination campaign, the government needs to make sure the information is updated in real time.
"The government needs to make sure that those numbers are up to date and the media acting as the public’s accountability mechanism has access and confidence in those numbers."
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.