Some of the preferred formulations also contradict each other or impose mandatory rules to the point of hindering immunization, public health experts say. However, many Americans may not be aware of the layers of algorithms that affect their accessibility to vaccines.
Ellen P. Goodman, a professor at the Rutgers Law School, who studies how governments use automated decision-making systems, says algorithms are needed to distribute vaccines efficiently. But public agencies and health centers should be transparent about the priority formulas, she added.
“We want to know who is using them, what they are trying to do, who owns the proprietary algorithms, if they are audited or not,” she said.
Vaccine priority formulations are divided into three levels: federal, state, and local. At the top level, Operation Warp Speed - a multi-functional federal effort, created by the Trump administration – has managed the nationwide distribution of vaccines through Tiberius, an online portal that was broadcast. by Palantir, the data mining giant. The Biden administration, having dropped the program’s name, has taken over and is continuing its efforts.
For dose division, federal administrators use a simple algorithm. It automatically divides the total amount of vaccine available each week by the 50 states – as well as the US territories and a few major cities like New York – based on the number of people over the age of 18 in each location.
However, some medical officials and researchers have described the Tiberius algorithm as a black box.
“Why can’t they publicize the methods they used to make these estimates?” Dr. Rebecca Weintraub, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, co-authored a recent study on the state’s immunization plan. “Why do states get a different amount than they expected each week?”
Countries began warning about Tiberius restrictions last fall. In the interim vaccine plans submitted to the CDC, some state health administrators have complained that the platform looks too cumbersome and that the weekly allocation of the algorithm will make it difficult. the planning of monthly immunization campaigns.