Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Donate today to support the journalism you rely on!

The CDC says they're mistracking COVID-19 booster doses in New Hampshire due to N.H. based data issues

Picture of vaccine vial
Wikimedia Commons
The inaccurate tracking of COVID-19 booster shots has caused it to appear that more people have received first doses of the vaccine in New Hampshire than actually have.

Many COVID-19 booster doses administered in New Hampshire are being incorrectly tracked by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention as first doses of the vaccine.

Get NHPR's reporting about politics, the pandemic, and other top stories in your inbox — sign up for our newsletter today.

The CDC confirmed to NHPR that it can’t accurately track booster doses in New Hampshire due to linkage issues with the state of New Hampshire’s immunization information system, which currently can't access data from pharmacies.

The linkage issue means that state is also unable to track booster shots or the overall vaccination rate accurately. The inability of the state to include pharmacy data in its database is largely due to its new and underfunded vaccine registry system.

The CDC says they can update records as data is fixed locally. But, with funding needed to improve the system at the state level in limbo, it’s unclear when the tracking issues could be resolved.

The inaccurate data means the CDC is not only miscounting booster doses, but the rate of first COVID shots is becoming increasingly, and artificially, inflated.

The same tracking issue seems to have occurred when third doses for the severely and moderately immunocompromised were approved back in August.

While the population eligible for the third shot was small, there was a bump in first shot administration right around the time third doses were approved, suggesting some third shots were being incorrectly tracked as first shots.

The CDC also shows New Hampshire as having the lowest rate in the country of fully vaccinated residents who have received a booster shot, at 2.6 percent.

The combination of high rates of first dose uptake, contrasting with what providers across the state report seeing, and a strikingly low booster administration rate suggests the tracking issue may apply to tens of thousands of booster shots in New Hampshire.

As of Nov. 3, the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccination map shows that over 77 percent of Granite Staters have received at least one shot of the vaccine, a number that has shot up since the CDC approved boosters in late September.

Meanwhile, the fully vaccinated rate continues to hover at around 63 percent, according to CDC data.

Related Content

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.