The Rhode Island Department of Health provided a lengthy update on their vaccination effort via email on Friday afternoon. What’s Up Newp is sharing the entire email below in an effort to help get this important information out to as many Rhode Islanders as possible.

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, 214,476 people have received one dose of vaccine. A total of 85,188 people have received two doses of vaccine. See the data.

Nearly 25% of Rhode Islanders age 16 and older have received at least one dose. We are administering almost 8,000 doses a day in Rhode Island, and our administration rate is up by 210% since January.

COVID-19 Vaccine Record Lookup

Rhode Islanders can now get a copy of their COVID-19 vaccine record through portal.ri.gov/VaccineRecord. From this website, you can search for and print proof of your COVID-19 vaccination. If you need a second dose of vaccine, this record will tell you when you are eligible to get your second dose. Please note that only people who have received their COVID-19 vaccination in Rhode Island will be able to look up their vaccination record online.

If you are having trouble finding your vaccination record or are not able to go online, you can call 401-222-8022 for help.


Appointments Required at Vaccination Sites

Please remember that in order to receive your vaccination you must first make an appointment. In addition, you must be a part of a currently eligible group and attest to that in your online registration. There are no clinics providing walk-up vaccinations at this time, and you will be turned away if you arrive without an actual appointment. Find out more about how to make an appointment here. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.


211 Support for Vaccination Registration

People who live, work, or go to school in Rhode Island can now get additional support when scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. People can call 2-1-1 to talk to a live, trained person, who can offer help in multiple languages when scheduling appointments on VaccinateRI.org or signing up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Notification List on portal.ri.gov. RIDOH is working with the United Way to provide this free support for all Rhode Islanders, including those with technical challenges and barriers, the deaf and hard of hearing community, those who speak a language other than English, and people with speech disabilities. This help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about COVID-19 vaccination in Rhode Island, visit RIDOH’s COVID-19 Vaccine page

Pathways to Vaccination

Options for vaccination still include going to a State-run vaccination site, select retail pharmacy, or a local or regional clinic. Because there are multiple ways to get a vaccine, RIDOH encourages people to only schedule an appointment in one place so that all eligible people can get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

See the ways people who live, work, or attend school in Rhode Island can get vaccinated


New State-Run Vaccination Sites

We plan to open new State-run vaccination sites in Middletown and Woonsocket. The Middletown site will open first, either next week or the following week, at the former Benny’s store on West Main Road.

Appointments are currently NOT open at these new locations. We will announce when appointments open.


Who is Being Vaccinated Now?

We are working hard to prepare for the next eligible groups: people 60 to 64, and people 16 to 64 who have underlying health conditions. We will announce when appointments open for these groups shortly. You can always check eligibility and see who is currently being vaccinated here.


Vaccine Eligibility for Teachers

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden set a goal for the country to get its teachers vaccinated. Rhode Island is working on a plan to vaccinate teachers and school staff. More information will be shared as it becomes available. (Please note that CVS, which receives vaccine directly from the federal government, has expanded eligibility to K-12 teachers, daycare and preschool workers, and staff.)


Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Vaccine

The Janssen Vaccine, which is also called the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, was deemed safe and very effective by the FDA. On Wednesday, our Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee recommended that Rhode Island begin administering this vaccine.

We received 9,100 doses of the Janssen vaccine on Tuesday night, and will be distributing them at State-run sites, local and community sites, clinics in our high-density communities, hospitals, community health centers, and other places. We will also use this vaccine for homebound Rhode Islanders.

The Janssen vaccine performed very well in clinical trials against the new variants of COVID-19, and it was 100% effective in clinical trials in preventing hospitalizations and deaths 28 days or more after vaccination.

When you make an appointment to get vaccinated through www.vaccinateri.org, you can see which vaccine will be administered before making the appointment.


High-Density Community Progress

Roughly 34% percent of adults in Central Falls have now received at least one dose, and 93% of residents in Central Falls age 65 and older have received at least one dose. Since we started vaccinating in Central Falls, we have seen a 63% decrease in COVID-19 cases.

However, we have more work to do in our other high-density communities with elevated case rates and elevated rates of hospitalizations, including Pawtucket and parts of Providence.

In Pawtucket and Providence, we are going to be implementing the following strategies:

  • Holding clinics for residents age 18 and older in specific settings, such as housing authorities, food pantries, community organizations, and churches; 
     
  • Giving cities the flexibility to move more quickly through eligible age categories in these areas;
     
  • And expanding the number of community-based vaccination sites and providers in these areas over the coming weeks.  
     

RIDOH will collaborate with municipal and community leaders and apply available data to determine the best timing and strategy to expand vaccination opportunities for members of harder-hit communities.

Survey to Gather Information for Those Unable to Leave Their Home for Vaccine

While all individuals are encouraged to seek vaccination opportunities through vaccination clinics and retail pharmacies, there are individuals who are unable to leave home to attend such opportunities. If you are unable to leave home to receive COVID-19 vaccination, or are the healthcare provider or family caregiver of someone who is homebound, please inform RIDOH through the following form: http://bit.ly/homeboundvax. Please note: this is not a vaccination registration form. This is a form to collect information for planning.

Vaccine Interest Notification List

People who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated can add their contact information to a Vaccine Interest Notification List to get updates as eligibility opens to new groups. Enrolling in this list does not guarantee an appointment for vaccination. To enroll in the Vaccine Interest Notification List, visit portal.ri.gov

How to Get Vaccinated Video  

The Rhode Island National Guard recently posted a step-by-step video on how Rhode Islanders can get vaccinated through the State-run vaccination sites. Watch the video by clicking below or here

What to Expect During and After Your Vaccination

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

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.

Special Guest Presentation with Dr. James McDonald

The Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing held a special guest presentation on February 25 with Dr. James McDonald, who provided information and updates about the COVID-19 vaccine. View the video here and by clicking on the video below. 

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.