In a newsletter on Friday, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) shared the following information to provide an update on Rhode Island’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts.

Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccination Update

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, 95,829 people have received one dose of vaccine. A total of 42,116 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.

Vaccination Progress

We have been very targeted in WHO we are vaccinating. During the first portion of the vaccination campaign, we focused on healthcare workers, people in public safety, and residents in congregate settings.

We are already starting to see results. In the image below, you can see that COVID-19 case rates among healthcare workers decreased during this first vaccination period. We have also seen positive results in our long-term care facilities.

Where You Can Get Vaccinated

RIDOH’s approach to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine moving forward 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. To get vaccinated in Rhode Island, you either need to live here, work here, or go to school here. To get vaccinated, you must confirm you are part of an eligible group, either online or over the phone when booking.


Pharmacies

This week, CVS and Walgreens will receive 7,000 doses total for people 75 years of age and older. They will each receive 2,000 doses from our federal allocation. CVS will receive an additional 3,000 doses directly from the federal government.

This is a continuation of the vaccinating of older adults that the pharmacies have been doing for several weeks now in other settings.

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

  • For Walgreens, you can schedule an appointment by going to the Walgreens website or calling Walgreens directly.
     
  • For CVS, go to CVS.com, use the CVS Pharmacy app, or call CVS directly. Those without online access can contact customer service: (800) 746-7287. CVS has asked individuals eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations to use the appropriate digital channels or contact customer service to check for appointment availability, as opposed to contacting individual CVS Pharmacy locations. Active stores will change regularly based on vaccine supply.

Local and Regional Vaccination Sites

Starting the week of February 14, a combined total of 7,800 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to cities and towns for people age 75 and older each week for a four-week period. These 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 receive a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Supplies continue to remain very limited.
 
Local and regional vaccination sites will be held at schools, senior centers, and other sites for first doses, starting next Monday. Appointments are required at all vaccination clinics. You cannot walk up and get vaccinated. Cities and towns will schedule appointments.

For people who make appointments at these local clinics, please show up at your assigned time. Appointments have been spaced out to avoid crowding. We do not want people in crowds, and we do not want people standing in lines in the cold.

If you have registered, there is a COVID-19 vaccine for you. You do NOT need to worry about the clinic running out.
 

State-Run Vaccination Sites

On Thursday, February 18, the State will open State-run vaccination sites at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence and the Sockanosset Cross Road site in Cranston for people age 75 and older.
 
We will administer roughly 500 doses per day at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and roughly 900 doses per day at the Sockanosset site to start. As more vaccine becomes available, we will expand capacity and we will open eligibility to additional groups beyond people age 75 and older.

You will need to register for these State-run sites. You CANNOT walk in without an appointment and get vaccinated.
 
On Wednesday, February 17, we will announce the registration link for people who are 75 and older for these two State-run sites. We will also announce a phone number that people can call to make an appointment, if that is their preferred method. We will post this information to our website at C19vaccineRI.org and also communicate it broadly.

People will be able to start registering on Wednesday for appointments, which will begin Thursday. On Wednesday, appointments will become available for the next two weeks.
 
At their first vaccination appointment, people will be able to make appointments for their next dose.
 
Supply of vaccine remains VERY 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.


What to Expect During and After Your Vaccination

For more information on what to expect during and after your vaccination appointment, visit C19vaccineRI.org.
 

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.

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.

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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.