by Renee McGuinness
The transparency of Vermont Health Dept. Covid-19 data has always been dubious. Now two recent articles in the Vermont Daily Chronicle definitively expose that the Vermont Department of Health Covid-19 Dashboard lacks transparency and context.
For nearly two years our state legislature passed legislation, changed voting laws, worked remotely, and (through the Joint Rules Committee) imposed unconstitutional mandates at the State House – all based upon this nebulous data.
The current data provided on the dashboard does not “suffice,” as Vermont Department of Health spokesperson Ben Truman would like us to accept (Jan. 18 Vermont Daily Chronicle). But the presentation of data is unacceptable because it is insufficient: it does not list fatalities of unvaccinated Vermonters, even as we are told repeatedly this is a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated.’
Providing this crucial data shouldn’t be a heavy lift. Hospitals collect patients’ vaccination status.
When I asked Vermont House Representative Mari Cordes, an RN who works at UVMMC, why the hospital cannot record that a patient is unvaccinated when admitted to the hospital rather than lumping together partially vaccinated with the unvaccinated, she replied, “We (UVMMC) routinely add vaccination status to patient charts/EMRs, whether unvaccinated, partially, or fully vaccinated. If the patient was not vaccinated by one of our providers we won’t have access to that information unless the patient volunteers it, but otherwise – it’s not difficult and we do it all of the time. I confirmed this just now with hospital leadership. I won’t/can’t speak on behalf of the Health Department or Dr. Levine.”[As to why The Vermont Department of Health currently refuses to track unvaccinated deaths from covid.]
The second article shows that it took a Freedom of Information request to learn that covid-19 is the primary cause of death in 26% of covid death certificates.
Yet on its dashboard, the Vermont Department of Health does not separate “death from covid-19” from “death with covid-19.” Instead it reports the total number of covid-19 deaths regardless if covid is listed as the first, second, third, or fourth cause of death, or is among “other significant contributions” leading to death. (The FOIA-requested spreadsheet does not indicate whether the patients that died were unvaccinated or vaccinated.)
Context is also lacking from the Health Dept.’s public information. Covid data is incomplete when it is limited to case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths, without the context of hospitalizations and deaths from infectious disease measured over the course of several decades.
Legislators continue to act based upon dubious Vermont Department of Health data that lacks context.
Please contact your state representatives and senators and ask them to contact Health Commissioner Levine: Ask legislators to contact Commissioner Levine and insist the Department of Health be fully transparent. We the People cannot possibly have confidence our legislators are serving to protect our rights if they refuse to insist upon accurate, transparent data. Ask them to copy you on their email to Commissioner Levine, whose public, government email address is: email@example.com.
Tell your legislators we want data reported on the Vermont Health Department dashboard that includes:
- Deaths according to the number of vaccines individuals have received: zero, one, two, three, and four or more doses.
- Report covid as the primary cause of death separate from second, third, and fourth causes.
- Number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths with “unknown vaccination status”
- Comparative data of inpatient and ICU occupancy on a monthly basis, reported by year for the past ten years.
- The percent of infectious disease inpatient and ICU occupancy by month/year for the past ten years.
- Separate out-of-state inpatients, ICU, and deaths in Vermont hospitals from Vermont residents. (If an out-of-state patient is admitted to a Vermont hospital and/or dies in a Vermont hospital, is that counted as a Vermont death? And is it also counted as a covid death for the patient’s resident state?)
- Track and report Covid-19 deaths and hospital discharges according to treatment protocols: Remdesivir, all the different types of monoclonal antibodies, and all other specific treatments.
It is time to hold our legislature accountable in an organized manner. We must not allow them to continue to cling to and drive legislation based upon dubious data.
Ask your representatives and senators to send an email to Health Commissioner Levine by Monday, January 31, 2022, and let me know if your legislators do not respond. Send me a copy of the email your legislators sent to Commissioner Levine, and I will compile a record of legislators who are concerned about the accuracy of data and agreed to follow through on our request, and I will report it to Vermont Daily Chronicle.
I can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The author is a ‘retired’ home-school parent living in Addison County.