The Rhode Island Department of Health provided the following vaccination update via email today. What’s Up Newp is sharing the entire email to help get this important information out to as many people 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 morning, 288,402 people have received one dose of vaccine. A total of 146,194 people have received two doses of vaccine. See the data.

More people are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Rhode Island than have been infected with COVID-19 in the state. With 12% of Rhode Islanders fully vaccinated, we are now among the top 5 states nationally for first doses administered.


Vaccine Supply Expected to Increase

Last week, COVID-19 vaccination eligibility opened for Rhode Islanders who are 60 to 64 years of age and who are 16 to 64 with specific underlying health conditions. A full list of qualifying conditions is available here.

However, since we opened eligibility to these two groups, there has been much more demand than supply. There are more than 150,000 people in these two groups.

We are getting forecasts about a lot more vaccine expected to come into Rhode Island over the coming weeks.

On Thursday, Gov. Dan McKee and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott sent a letter to the White House requesting an additional allocation of 50,000 vaccines per week for Rhode Island to help us meet the President’s goal of getting a first dose to every American by the end of May.

Right now, we have the capacity to administer about 100,000 doses per week. This week, we received about 47,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Looking forward, we expect to receive 50,980 doses of vaccine next week.


First Dose Appointments Expected to Increase at State-Run Sites

The supply of vaccines for first dose shots remains very limited this week. The majority of the available vaccines are needed to give second doses to people who were already scheduled. For this reason, only a limited number of first dose shot appointments at State-run vaccination sites (approximately 3,200) will be available today at approximately 5 p.m. However, by next week, availability of first dose appointments is expected to increase. Check eligibility requirements before visiting https://www.vaccinateRI.org to sign up.


Vaccine Eligibility For All Rhode Islanders

There has been a lot of talk about President Joe Biden’s charge to states to open eligibility to all adults by May 1. We are confident in our ability to do that in Rhode Island.

Based on the projections we are getting from the federal government, we  believe that we can open eligibility to the last age group on our timeline – which is people 16 to 39 years of age – by the week of April 19.

However, this does not mean that everyone will be able to get an appointment BY April 19. This is when we think we can open eligibility for everyone.

Appointments are booking two and three weeks out. Soon, every Rhode Islander will be eligible to make an appointment for a first dose of COVID-19. We are grateful for everyone’s patience during this time.


Vaccine Equity

We have been working closely with municipal leadership, the COVID-19 Equity Council, our Health Equity Zones, and many other partners over the last few weeks to move forward on strategies to narrow the gaps we are seeing in COVID-19 vaccination rates, particularly in those communities that have been harder hit.

Access and equity have been two major focus areas for us. We know that we have more work to do in terms of narrowing disparities. This is a priority for us, and we are putting it front and center.


New State-Run Vaccination Sites

We have two more large, State-run vaccination sites planned – one in Woonsocket and one in South County.

We are also planning to open three new vaccination sites, supported by cities and towns and open to all Rhode Islanders, just like our State-run vaccination sites. We envision these opening in Westerly, East Providence, and at a third site in northern Rhode Island.

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


New Pharmacy Sites

Stop & Shop and Walmart will offer the COVID-19 vaccine at pharmacy locations for eligible people in Rhode Island. Stop & Shop will offer the Moderna vaccine at most locations and the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine at four Stop & Shop pharmacies, while Walmart will offer the Pfizer vaccine.

  • Stop & Shop: Starting this week, eligible people can make a vaccine appointment at all 14 Stop & Shop Pharmacy locations in the state. To make an appointment or for more information, visit www.stopandshop.com/covid-vaccine.  

    Although people age 16 and older with underlying health conditions are eligible in the state, Stop & Shop Pharmacy locations will only be able to vaccinate individuals 18 and older as the Moderna and Janssen vaccines have only been authorized for people 18 and older.
  • Walmart: Starting this week, eligible people can make a vaccine appointment at select Walmart pharmacies in Rhode Island. For more information or to make an appointment, visit Flu Shots & Immunizations – Walmart.com
     

Homebound Vaccination

Home health agencies and other partners have started scheduling vaccinations for homebound clients and residents.

We have set up a partnership with three agencies to administer COVID-19 vaccine to homebound people in their residences. Those agencies are Alert Ambulance, MedTech Ambulance, and PACE.

We recently collected information about people who cannot leave their homes to get vaccinated. We developed an online survey, and we partnered with the Office of Healthy Aging, health insurers, senior centers, healthcare providers, and others to collect this information.

If you have already completed the survey, one of these agencies will contact you soon to schedule a vaccination appointment. These agencies will begin vaccinating some people as soon as March 20.

Due to the currently limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, appointments for in-home vaccination are being prioritized based on age and geography. Appointments will be made first for the oldest people and those who live in one of the following hard-hit ZIP codes: 02860, 02861, 02863, 02893, 02895,02904, 02905, 02906, 02907, 02908, 02909, 02910, 02911, 02914, 02919, and 02920.

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 survey: http://bit.ly/homeboundvax.

‘It’s Up To You’ Campaign

The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative recently announced new PSAs as part of their COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative’s “It’s Up To You” campaign featuring former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter and former First Ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Rosalynn Carter. The videos are designed to encourage all Americans to get answers to the top questions about the COVID-19 vaccines at GetVaccineAnswers.org and to get a vaccination when it is available to them. 

Vaccine Interest Notification List

People who are not yet eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 can sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Notification List by visiting portal.ri.gov. Rhode Island is using this list to let people know when they are eligible to make a vaccination appointment. The State-run vaccination sites are also using this list to identify and contact people if they anticipate having any unused doses as they near the end of the day, beginning with currently eligible groups. People who need help being added to the Vaccine Interest Notification List can call 844-930-1779.


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.


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. 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.


Who is Being Vaccinated Now?

You can always check eligibility and see who is currently being vaccinated 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.

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

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).