We are supposedly getting a lot more data on the numbers of us being vaccinated, later on Monday. What's less clear is whether we will be getting data that is useful.
Here is what we should be told on a granular daily basis, to reinforce confidence both that the vaccination operation is efficient and effective and to provide hope that the end of this social and economic misery is a realistic prospect:
1. Numbers vaccinated per day should be published.
2. This number should be broken down between first and second dose so that we know how many are protected to the maximum possible.
3. The status of those vaccinated – are they in the 80 plus category, or healthcare workers, for example?
4. The numbers vaccinated per local authority and the proportion of the target group vaccinated per local authority.
5. How much of the vaccine is being wasted, both nationally and per local authority, to encourage best practice.
6. What proportion of each target group is accepting or rejecting the invitation to be vaccinated, so we can assess how many are rejecting vaccines on principle and how many are not receiving the invitations because of NHS communication failures.
As the Prime Minister has said, this is the most important government initiative of modern times. As such it could not be more important that we have the relevant information to hold ministers, the NHS and Public Health England to account.
However, I have just learned that initially at least, we are not going to get any of that. There will be a single statistic every day of total numbers vaccinated. So we will have to do the simply arithmetic just to work out the daily rate. And it is not even clear if there will be separate numbers given for vaccinations delivered and people vaccinated. This is all quite troubling. As one data scientist told me, 'it's not a good dataset'.