What tests of each state's vaccine website reveal: 10 key findings

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Privacy concerns, poor accessibility and slow performance are among a few things revealed in a test on every state's vaccine website, according to a March 24 report published by The Markup.

The Markup ran a series of tests on vaccine websites in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., COVID-19 using their website privacy inspector tool and Google's Lighthouse tool, which assesses a website's performance and accessibility.

Here are 10 key findings:

  1. The privacy tool examined the number of ad trackers on each site to see whether third parties receive data on visitors to the sites. The average number of ad trackers was 2.8 per site, and the average number of third-party cookies per site was 3.4.

  2. Nevada had the poorest privacy ratings. The site had 24 ad trackers and 45 third-party cookies — more cookies than the lowest 46 states combined.

  3. Following Nevada, Hawaii had 17 trackers and 37 third-party cookies, Utah had 10 trackers and 22 third-party cookies, and New Jersey had 12 trackers and 11 third-party cookies.

  4. Twenty-two states and Puerto Rico's websites had zero cookies on their vaccine website.

  5. Lighthouse assesses a website's performance and generates a score from 0 to 100. Embedded interactive features like YouTube videos or third-party widgets like ad trackers and cookies can slow a vaccine website's performance.

  6. Colorado maintained the average speed to load content at 5.9 seconds. Puerto Rico held the fastest speed at 1.4 seconds and Nevada had the slowest speed at 15.7 seconds.

  7. Embedded Youtube videos and social media posts with public health information could have contributed to Nevada's slow speed.

  8. Other states with the lowest performance scores include Pennsylvania, Ohio, Montana, Washington and Arizona. Each of their sites contained embedded widgets.

  9. Lighthouse tested accessibility to measure how well each site has implemented code to assist users with disabilities. Eighty-four percent of states scored 85 (out of 100) or higher.

  10. New Mexico's site received the lowest score of 66, followed by South Carolina and Pennsylvania, which both scored 75 or lower.
 

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