Oconee and Clarke counties are above average in rate of full vaccination for COVID-19 in comparison with other counties in the Northeast Health District and with the state, but the number of added vaccinations per day is declining in the two counties as well as in the state.
In Oconee County, 35.3 percent of the population is fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, and in Clarke County, 27.8 is fully vaccinated.
Consistent with the rollout plans, vaccinations are disproportionately concentrated among those who are 55 years old and older in both counties.
Clarke County is notable, however, with its large population of persons 20 to 24 years old and small number of vaccination of persons in that age group.
The percentage of the vaccines administered to those classified as White in Oconee County is lower than the population figures, while the reverse is true in Clarke County.
In both counties, women are disproportionately represented among those who have received the vaccine.
Even with the slowing of the vaccinations, the number of cases of COVID-19 in the two counties is leveling off.
In the last week ending on Wednesday, Oconee County reported only 12 cases, compared with 13 a week earlier, and Clarke County reported 48, compared with 63 a week earlier.
New Data File
The Department of Public Health last week began releasing a new data file each day showing vaccinations by county by date.
I downloaded that file on Sunday and have analyzed the data for the Oconee and Clarke counties, for the 10-county Northeast Health District, which includes Oconee and Clarke counties, and for the state.
As of Sunday, 28.6 percent of the residents in the Northeast Health District had at least one vaccination, and 23.7 percent were fully vaccinated.
(Click on the table above, and on any of the charts and tables that follow, to enlarge it.)
In the state, these figures were 34.5 percent and 27.1 percent.
Oconee County led the District with 40.2 percent of the residents having one vaccination and 34.9 percent being fully vaccinated.
Clarke County was above average with 32.4 percent of its residents having one vaccination and 27.4 percent being fully vaccinated.
Clarke County, however, reports lower figures than the state as whole for persons with one vaccination.
These percentages differ from the ones shown on the Department of Public Health Vaccine Distribution Dashboard.
The Department of Public Health uses lower population estimates on its Vaccine Distribution Dashboard than it uses on its Daily Status Report.
For example, the population estimate–and it is just that, since Census data are 10 years old–for Oconee County used on the Vaccine Distribution Dashboard is 37,017, while it is 41,737 on the Daily Status Report.
For Clarke County, the discrepancy is between 124,602 and 129,779.
The inconsistency makes the rate of vaccination higher and the rate of the spread of COVID-19 lower.
I have recalculated the vaccine data using the higher population estimates from the Daily Status Report for consistency.
It is impossible to know at this time which estimate is correct, though Oconee County's population is frequently listed as near or above 40,000.
The percentage of Oconee County residents with one vaccination increased to 40.4 percent on Wednesday from 40.2 shown in the table for Sunday, while the percentage fully vaccinated increased from 34.9 to 35.3.
The percentages of Clarke County residents with one vaccination increased to 32.7 on Wednesday from the 32.4 shown in the table for Sunday, while the percentage fully vaccinated increased from 27.4 to 27.9.
In the last seven days, ending on Wednesday, 891 residents of Oconee County received a dose of the vaccines.
In the previous week, that figure had been 1,041.
In the last seven days, ending on Wednesday, 2,192 residents of Clarke County received a dose of the vaccines.
In the previous week, that figure had been 3,217.
The leveling off of vaccinations is reflected in the chart below showing Cumulative Vaccines Administered Across Time in Oconee and Clarke counties as well as in the state.
The leveling off is then reflected in the chart below showing Number Fully Vaccinated Across Time for Oconee and Clarke counties and for the state.
Both charts have dual axes, with Oconee and Clarke county data plotted on the left-hand axis and data for Georgia plotted on the right-hand axis.
Because of the way the data file from the Department of Public Health is created–days on which no vaccinations were administered are skipped for a given county–I did not sum and then plot the data for the Northeast Health District.
Vaccinations By Age
The vaccine until recently was not available for those under 18 years of age.
It now has been approved for those 16 and 17 and even more recently for those 12 to 15.
The Department of Public Health classifies recipients of the vaccine by age group, starting with a cluster of those 15 to 19, most of whom would not have been eligible for the vaccine.
Estimating population distributions by county and then again by age is problematic, and this is reflected in the data reported by the Department of Public Health.
The Department of Public Health reported as of Sunday that 1,748 persons aged 75 to 84 in Oconee County had received at least one vaccine, but it estimated that the county had a only 1,449 persons in that age category in the county.
It reported that 100 percent of the population aged 75 to 84 had one vaccination, as it did for Clarke County as well.
An alternative strategy, and the one I followed in the tables below, is to calculate the percentage of the vaccines distributed by age and the other demographic categories and compare those percentages with the percentage estimates of the distribution of the population.
The table above shows that 4.0 percent of the persons with one vaccine in Oconee County were aged 15 to 19, but 10.3 percent of the population (15 years old or older) falls into that category.
In Clarke County, the comparison is between 2.6 percent and 13.2 percent, and in the state it is between 2.5 percent and 8.8 percent.
The Department of Public Health does not report the numbers of persons fully vaccinated by age or by other demographic groups, so the data on persons with one vaccine are all that are available for these comparisons.
The discrepancy between the percentage of vaccines administered to persons 20 to 24 years old in Clarke County (7.6) and the distribution of the population in that county (with 21.2 percent aged 20 to 24) contrasts with the situation in Oconee County and the state, where the discrepancy is much less pronounced.
Students at the University of Georgia likely dominate the 20 to 24-year-old category in Clarke County.
The University reported in its COVID-19 Health And Exposure Update on Wednesday that it had administered only 1,286 vaccines in the week of May 3 to 9, which represented only 5.3 percent of the vaccine on hand at the start of the week.
The University had reported a similar discrepancy last week and is showing that it has administered only 20,978 of the 43,510 doses received through May 9.
Race And Sex
The Department of Public Health has data on the race of most of those who received the vaccine, but not all.
In Oconee County, racial data are available for 95.5 percent of the persons who had at least one vaccine. In Clarke County, the figure is 93.8.
Based on the available data, 4.5 percent of the persons with at least one vaccination in Oconee County are Black, while 5.4 percent of the population (including those between 0 and 14 years old) are classified as Black by the Department of Public Health.
In Clarke County, 20.2 percent of the persons with at least one vaccination are classified as Black, while 27.6 percent of the population is Black.
In Oconee County and in Clarke County, a higher percentage of those with one vaccination are Other and Asian than is true for the population overall.
In the state as a whole, 24.6 percent of those with at last one vaccination are Black, while 31.5 percent of the state is Black.
The Department of Public Health reports ethnicity as either Hispanic or Unknown, so I did not analyze those data, since it isn’t possible to know what Unknown means.
In Oconee County, 54.7 percent of those with at least one vaccination are female, while women make up 50.9 percent of the population.
In Clarke County, 56.7 percent of those with one vaccination are female, compared with 52.5 percent of the population.
Across the state, 55.9 percent of those with one vaccine are female, while women make up 51.2 percent of the population.
The two charts below plot the number of COVID-19 cases listed by the Department of Public Health, based both on molecular and antigen (rapid) tests, going back to the onset of the pandemic.
The first is a dual axis chart, with the metric for the 10-county Northeast District on the left and the metric for the state on the right.
The pattern is the same, with a clear leveling–but certainly not yet flattening–of the line. (The line will never turn down, since it is cumulative.)
The second shows this same picture for Oconee and Clarke counties, using the same metric for both counties.
The flattening of the lines seems more within reach.
The seven day rolling average of added cases in Oconee County was 1.7 cases per day in Oconee County on Wednesday.
In Clarke County, the seven-day rolling average was 6.9 cases per day.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 46.4 percent of the U.S. population now has at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 35.4 percent is fully vaccinated.
That means that Oconee and Clarke counties are below the national figure for the percentage with one dose and percentage fully vaccinated, but Oconee is much closer than Clarke to those figures.
Oconee County, in fact, is just below the national figure for percentage fully vaccinated.
The CDC (which uses a different population estimate from the state), reported on Wednesday that 36.9 percent of the state’s population has at least one dose of the vaccine, and 28.3 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated.
Georgia, which had been at the bottom of the list of states with percentage of its population fully vaccinated, has now moved ahead of Mississippi, Alabama, Utah, and Arkansas.
Maine is at the top of the list, with 46.6 percent of its population fully vaccinated, followed by Connecticut with 45.9, and then Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode island, New Jersey, New Mexico, Hawaii, and New York.
New York has 40.8 percent of its population fully vaccinated.