Improved race and ethnicity data leads to changes in vaccination rates

Starting on Sept. 14, 2022, OHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Metrics dashboard will include updated population estimates for race and ethnicity data at the state and county level. OHA worked closely with Portland State University’s Population Research Center to incorporate the latest data and methodology from the 2020 American Community Survey (ACS), leading to better estimates of the number of people in Oregon by race and ethnicity in different age groups.

This update helps healthcare officials, providers, and community organizations statewide. By providing as much accurate information as possible, communities can make smart decisions to increase their vaccination efforts. Race and ethnicity data better equips communities to educate and support all members through trusted partners and in the right languages.

The updated population data expands on a previous update in December of 2021. We continue to refine our population data, as inaccurate representation of populations in Oregon perpetuates systemic racism and health inequities. Population data updates affect our estimated vaccination rates by changing the denominator in the equation used to calculate the percentage of vaccinated individuals from a given demographic. if the total demographic population increases, then the % vaccinated with decreases. If the total demographic population decreases, then the % vaccinated increases. More accurate population data in turn gives us more accurate vaccination rate estimates.

This change in population estimates increases accuracy and enables comparisons by age groups. For example, Hispanic and Latina/o/x population of Oregon is 12% of the state total, but only 10% of the adult population. Increased accuracy in population shows us that Oregon has reached 80% goal of Latina/o/x community over 18 vaccinated. This important milestone is thanks to the trust and hard work of community organizations, healthcare workers and community members, who came together to increase vaccination rates in the Latina/o/x population. 

Before the change, the statewide percentage of adults who received at least one dose and who identify as Black or African American was 82.3% and with the updated data, the dashboard will now show the rate as 94.3%. The vaccination rate for Hispanic/Latino/a/x adults will see a similar increase from 68.5% to 80.5%. The vaccination rate will decrease slightly for White adults from 85.6% to 81.6%. The vaccination rates for adults who identify as Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and American Indian and Alaska Native will not change significantly.

For more information, check out our press release.