Gov. Spencer J. Cox apologizes for reporting COVID-19 vaccination data error

In response to an error reported by the Utah Department of Health, Gov. Spencer J. Cox issued the following letter to the people of Utah:

My Fellow Utahns:

We screwed up. And I sincerely apologize. 

When I became governor, I promised that I would hold myself and others in state government accountable and admit our mistakes. When we were told by our data team that we had reached 70% of adult Utahns receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, we were surprised and excited and a little skeptical. Rather than announcing it, we decided to wait a few days to double- and triple-check the numbers. Every report came back that the numbers were accurate and so we went with it. 

A couple days ago, we learned that there was a mistake in the way we had counted federal doses. It soon became clear that we had only reached 67.07%. While federal data sharing has been extremely difficult, this one is on us. Our data team is devastated and embarrassed. And so am I. 

From the beginning we have emphasized the importance of building trust with the citizens of our state. Trust consists of two things: competence and ethical behavior. While we came up short as a result of simple human error, I’m happy to report that there is no evidence of any ethical breaches in this mistake. 

Our data team at the Department of Health has been incredible throughout this pandemic. At times working around the clock, these public servants have been recognized as one of the most thorough and transparent data teams in the country. While this miscalculation is inexcusable, they have re-examined processes to prevent this type of error from happening again. 

Most importantly though, this means we have even more work to get Utahns vaccinated. We will continue to do everything possible to make vaccinations easier and more accessible. 

And we will continue to hold ourselves accountable.