The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) provide an update on Rhode Island’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts via a email newsletter on Friday afternoon. What’s Up Newp is sharing the entire email here in order to help spread this important news and information.


The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is writing to provide an update on Rhode Island’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts. As of this afternoon, 82,078 people have received one dose of vaccine. A total of 31,578 people have received two doses of vaccine. See the data.

We want to get as many people as possible vaccinated as quickly as possible. Right now, we are only receiving a little more than 16,000 first doses of vaccine each week. Without enough vaccine to vaccinate all eligible people right away, we have to be extremely targeted and strategic in our approach. 


100,000 Vaccine Doses 
 
Rhode Island reached a milestone this week. More than 100,000 shots (first and second doses) have been administered across the state, and in particular, into the arms of some of our most vulnerable Rhode Islanders.

A lot of people deserve a thank you, starting with the vaccinators and other healthcare providers; and the mayors, town managers, and other leaders in all the municipalities throughout the state.

We hope to reach many more as we get more supply. Visit https://covid.ri.gov/vaccination for more information on the vaccination timeline. 


Where You Can Get Vaccinated

RIDOH’s approach for the COVID-19 vaccine is a data-driven and science-driven strategy using a framework of age, high-risk conditions, and geography. RIDOH’s plan aims to reopen the economy as quickly as possible by reaching those most at risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Three types of locations will soon be available for eligible Rhode Islanders to receive the COVID-19 vaccine: pharmacies, local and regional vaccination sites, and state-run vaccination sites.At all locations, people will be asked to verify that their personal and health information is true and accurate. Additional details about each location are outlined below.

Supply of vaccine is limited. It may take some time for everyone who is eligible to get an appointment. Please be patient and know that you will probably not get an appointment right away. The more vaccine we receive each week, the more quickly appointments will become available.


Pharmacies

COVID-19 vaccine will be available at retail pharmacies. At first, select CVS and Walgreens pharmacies will begin vaccinating people age 75 and older, but more pharmacies are expected to offer vaccination in the future.

Limited vaccine will be available to eligible individuals by appointment only at select retail pharmacies. Appointments are required at all vaccination sites.

  • Walgreens: Starting next Tuesday, 14 different Walgreens throughout the state will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Registration will begin on Sunday from 7 to 9 a.m. You can schedule an appointment by going to walgreens.com or calling Walgreens directly. 
     
  • CVS: On Sunday, CVS will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine at select sites in Providence and Johnson. You can start scheduling an appointment on Saturday. To register, go to CVS.com or call CVS directly starting Saturday.  

Vaccine eligibility at pharmacies will depend on the same timeline, as well as the same age, high-risk conditions, and geography framework that the State is using. For example, when the pharmacies start vaccinating, they will vaccinate people who are age 75 and older. When additional age groups become eligible statewide, those same age groups will be eligible for appointments at pharmacies.


Local and Regional Vaccination Sites

You will also soon be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at local and regional vaccination sites, which include community clinics run by cities and towns.

Starting the week of February 14, a combined total of 7,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to municipalities each week for a four-week period. The 7,000 doses will be divided among all cities and towns based on population. All cities and towns will also receive second doses for those people who received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Supplies continue to remain very limited.

Registration for these local and regional vaccination clinics will be site specific. For example, many cities and towns have their own lists of people to contact. They will use those lists for regional and local clinics.


State-Run Vaccination Centers

RIDOH expects to open between five to 10 large COVID-19 vaccination sites at central locations throughout the state. These sites are not open to the public yet. We expect them to open later this month, as more vaccine arrives. We do not want to open these sites until we have enough vaccine. More information will be shared in the near future about these sites.

When a group becomes eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine based on age, geography, or high-risk health condition, those people will be eligible to go online and register for an appointment. A call-in option will also be available for those who are unable to register online. You will be able to make an appointment for yourself or someone else, such as a family member.

These appointments will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. More appointments will open up as more vaccine becomes available. Right now, there are currently NO appointments available at state-run sites. A website and phone number will be provided closer to the opening date of these sites.


We are also working on plans with home care agencies to vaccinate homebound people. Accessibility is a priority for us. We are going to make sure that EVERYONE who wants to get vaccinated will be able to get vaccinated.


Who is Being Vaccinated Now?

The people currently being vaccinated are mainly residents in congregate settings (such as assisted living facilities), healthcare workers, and people in public safety. We are regularly looking at our inventory of vaccine and are evaluating how we can get more people vaccinated more quickly, especially our older adults. Last weekend, we were able to free up roughly 5,000 doses of vaccine for municipalities to begin vaccinating people who are 75 years of age and older. 

Where Will I Receive My Vaccine? 
 
The chart below shows where different groups will get vaccinated next week.

What Should I Do While I Wait for the Vaccine?

While the vaccine rollout will take time, there is a lot you can do in the meantime to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Testing is more available now than it has ever been in Rhode Island. If you go online right now to portal.ri.gov, you can make a same-day appointment to get tested at many sites throughout the state. If you test positive, Rhode Island also has a new doctor-recommended treatment. This fast, easy, and highly effective treatment helps keep you from getting sicker and being hospitalized.

However, the earlier you start treatment, the more effective it is. If you test positive for COVID-19 and are 65 or older or have an underlying health condition, immediately call your healthcare provider and ask about treatment for COVID-19. You can find out more information about this treatment here.

What If I Already Got My Vaccine?

While vaccination will prevent most people from developing severe illness, research is still needed to determine whether it will prevent a person from getting infected entirely and spreading COVID-19 to others. After receiving the vaccine, it’s important to continue to wear your mask, social distance, get tested if you have symptoms, and isolate if you are a close contact of someone who tested positive.

Looking Ahead

We are working as hard as possible to deliver vaccines as safely, equitably, and quickly as possible as we continue the fight against COVID-19. Despite the challenges with our limited supply, we are making good progress. We expect our supply to increase over time as manufacturers ramp up production and more vaccines are authorized.

We will continue to share regular updates as more information becomes available. You can find updates on vaccination planning and answers to frequently asked questions on RIDOH’s COVID-19 Vaccine page

The Latest from What's Up Newp

What's Up Crew

The latest from the What's Up Crew.