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State reporting on COVID-19 no longer includes information on vaccination status

Questions arise over accuracy of state data

Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services has stopped reporting separate data for vaccinated and unvaccinated people when it releases information on COVID-19.

The department had been reporting the number of people who tested positive, died or were hospitalized, according to vaccination status — a practice that began in March 2021. It updated the numbers weekly until Dec. 3, 2021, when it switched to monthly reporting. The public updates abruptly stopped April 8, 2022.

When asked why the department no longer reports the information, Lynn Sutfin, spokeswoman for the department, said the data is no longer being compiled at the state level.

“The surveillance system was not built to track hospitalization status of all individuals and link to vaccination. And with decreasing completion of case investigation, the hospital data was often missing,” Sutfin said.

Sutfin added that the COVID data tracker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is routinely updated, with the department drawing on it.

Michael Van Beek, director of research at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, wonders how the CDC is getting its information if the state is no longer compiling it. Sutfin said the CDC uses select data from Michigan hospitals.

Van Beek questions the data that state officials have provided throughout the pandemic.

“In this case, the state initially reported statistics on deaths, hospitalizations and positive tests by vaccination status. Then they stopped, without providing an explanation,” Van Beek says. “And now we learn the data was incomplete and problematic to begin with. Unfortunately, this type of inconsistent and shoddy use of data has become all too common for the state regarding COVID-19.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.