The Rhode Island Department of Health provided a “Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccination Update” by email on Friday. What’s Up Newp is sharing the update in its entirety to make sure the information and resources get out to as many people as possible..

Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are writing to provide an update on Rhode Island’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts. As of this afternoon, 402,611 people have received one dose of vaccine. A total of 281,056 people have received two doses of vaccine. See the data.

We continue to be in the top 10 states nationally for the number of people who have received at least one dose and second in the country for the number of people fully vaccinated. We are also second in the country for vaccinating people age 65 and older. We have administered more than a half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in our state.

Right now, our vaccine capacity is about 160,000 shots per week – and that number continues to build. On Friday at 5 p.m., slightly more than 20,000 vaccination appointments will go live on vaccinateRI.org. If you need help scheduling an appointment, call the automated phone line at 844-930-1779.

Everyone should get vaccinated once eligible. It is safe, it is effective, and more vaccine is coming into Rhode Island each week.

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Opens for Next Group

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility will open next week for people age 40 to 49.

Beginning Monday, April 12, people age 40 to 49 can sign up to be vaccinated at pharmacies, and at local and regional vaccination sites. Starting Tuesday, April 13, they can also sign up for appointments at State-run sites on www.vaccinateRI.org. New appointments for State-run sites open every Tuesday at 9 a.m. and every Friday at 5 p.m.

Between now and April 19, we are going to continue to open eligibility to different age groups, as you can see on our updated timeline.

By May 15, we expect 70% of Rhode Islanders age 16 and older to have at least one dose of vaccine. And by June 5, we expect 70% of ALL Rhode Islanders to have at least one dose of vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expands Further in Hard-Hit Communities 

Under our Hard-Hit Community Vaccination strategy, eligibility will open up to Rhode Islanders age 16 and over in certain zip codes over the next several days.

Eligibility will open Friday, April 9, for all Woonsocket residents age 16 and older.

On Monday, April 12, eligibility will open for certain ZIP codes in Pawtucket, West Warwick, Providence, Cranston, North Providence, East Providence, and Johnston. These ZIP codes are 02893, 02906, 02910, 02920, 02911, 02914, and 02919.

People in these ZIP codes will be eligible for vaccination at State-run vaccination sites, local and regional sites, and at participating pharmacies.

In addition, we have been working closely with our Equity Council to make sure we have reserved slots at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and at the Woonsocket vaccination site this weekend, for people from harder hit communities.

Public Transportation to Vaccine Sites

Many vaccination sites across the state are accessible by public transportation.

To view transportation routes and any possible walking distances, visit www.ripta.com and enter your travel information into RIPTA’s Trip Planner on the homepage. The website also has detailed maps and timetables for every RIPTA route. If you need help or cannot visit the website, call RIPTA’s Customer Service team at 401-781-9400.

Anyone enrolled in Medicaid or older than 60 can use the Non-Emergency Medical Transport Service provided by MTM. Transportation can be booked online at https://www.mtm-inc.net/mtm-link/ or by calling MTM at 855-330-9131 (TTY: 711) at least two business days before the appointment. If you are not enrolled in Medicaid, there may be a small cost to schedule a ride. For more information on the Non-Emergency Medical Transport Service, please see this FAQ sheet.

Cancellation Emails

We identified an issue on Wednesday, April 7, where cancellations emails were sent in error to roughly 1,400 people. These appointments were not actually canceled.

We immediately contacted everyone who got this email. The issue is resolved and all appointments are still valid.

CVS and Walgreens Expand Number of Stores Offering Vaccine

Due to an increase in Janssen vaccine from the federal government, both CVS and Walgreens will expand the number of stores in Rhode Island offering vaccine appointments. The new stores will start accepting vaccine appointments this weekend.

To view CVS or Walgreens stores near you offering a vaccine appointment or to find another type of vaccine site near you, visit the Vaccine Site Locator.

New Regional Clinics Are Open

New regional vaccination clinics are now open in Westerly, East Providence, and Johnston.

Appointments are required at all vaccination sites. People can make appointments through www.vaccinateRI.org. If you need help scheduling an appointment, please call the automated phone line at 844-930-1779.

Vaccine Interest Notification List

To learn when you are eligible for vaccination or when a vaccination appointment opens for you at one of our State-run sites, you can sign up for the Vaccine Interest Notification List (VINL). People can sign up at portal.ri.gov or by calling 844-930-1779.

We sent out 8,074 appointment notifications on April 7 to people who had pre-registered, and we will send more notifications each week.

We want to let people know in advance that email notifications with appointment links will come from the email address no-reply@multistatep4p.com. An email from this address is a legitimate email about scheduling your appointment. This is the address associated with the scheduling system we are using.

Text messages with appointment links will be sent from 855-596-1172.

VINL is one way you can register for vaccination. For other ways to register for vaccine and for more information about VINL, visit C19vaccineRI.org.

FEMA to Hire Staff For Community Vaccination Centers

FEMA is currently hiring non-medical vaccine support staff for community vaccination centers.

You must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, and possess a valid ID. The deadline to apply is May 3.

To apply or for more information, visit usajobs.gov and search for “FEMA.” 

VIDEO: Vaccinating Rhode Islanders Most in Need 

Pastor Howard Jenkins, of Bethel AME in Providence, and others share why vaccines are important for all Rhode Islanders, especially those most at risk for being hospitalized because of COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine saves lives. For more information, visit c19vaccineri.org.

Additional Resources 

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 Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).