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Province posts vaccine data online

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Health added vaccination updates to its COVID-19 website Wednesday afternoon, but a student in Saskatchewan says it’s been difficult to obtain data from this province for a national database he runs called COVID-19 Tracker Canada.

“Newfoundland has been one of the worst provinces for transparency with their vaccine data,” says Noah Little, who is studying biomedical neuroscience at the University of Saskatchewan.

He and a team of four other volunteers from other universities aggregate regional data from across the country every day.

“It’s been quite interesting to see the range of transparency in data between provinces through this whole process,” he said in an email Wednesday, but added that he has only been able to get second-hand information through the media in this province.

At Wednesday’s COVID-19 video update, Health Minister Dr. John Haggie said he’s unaware of any requests for data from outside the province that were turned down.

“It certainly didn’t come to my eyes,” he said. “I would argue that we’ve been very diligent in providing what information we have in a way that is understandable and easily accessible for folk in the province.”

Premier Andrew Furey echoed those sentiments.

“There is nothing to hide here, I assure you,” he said. “We want the public fully informed, educated, so that they can make the right decision and get this vaccine when (it’s) available.”

Little said he’s glad Newfoundland’s updates are now available online, although the plan now is to only update it once a week.

Haggie told reporters Wednesday the data would be broken down into regions, but the website currently only shows how much of each brand of vaccines has been received, the total received, total administered, and how many second doses have been given.

As of Wednesday, the province has received a total of 11,175 doses and has administered 5,291 of them.

According to data gathered by SaltWire Network, Newfoundland and Labrador is lagging behind all but two jurisdictions in Canada, but officials said much of that is because 2,400 doses only started being administered in Labrador on Monday, and the province is still holding onto second doses.

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Little said he’s responsible for the COVID tracker’s public-facing website, but they also have a career developer from B.C. who has been “invaluable” for managing data handling, technical systems and recent heavy traffic.
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