The Rhode Island Department of Health provided the following Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccination Update on Friday afternoon.

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, 547,248 people have received one dose of vaccine and 381,996 people are now fully vaccinated. See the data.

We are now seventh in the country for the number of people who have received at least one dose and seventh the country for the number of people fully vaccinated. We are also third in the country for vaccinating people age 65 and older.

As of Thursday, 63% of Rhode Islanders have received at least one dose of vaccine and 43% of the population is fully vaccinated. This is remarkable progress from where we started in early February to now; it is all thanks to you.

Everyone should get vaccinated. Every shot in the arm gets us all closer to fireworks, parades, and summer celebrations with our families and friends.


No Appointments Needed

We are working to make vaccination as easy, convenient, and accessible as possible. Resources needed to book an appointment should not be a barrier to getting vaccinated. If you want to get vaccinated at one of the State-run sites, making an appointment in advance at www.vaccinateRI.org is still the best way to go, but starting Thursday, April 29, appointments are no longer needed to get vaccinated at three State-run sites: 

  • 100 Sockanosset Cross Road, Cranston, which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking is available behind the building.
     
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Center, 1 La Salle Square, Providence, which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Three hours of free parking are available in North Garage at 114 West Exchange St. Accessible parking is available in front of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Volunteers are available to direct people to the clinic.
     
  • 1400 West Main Road, Middletown, which is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Also, beginning Thursday, April 29, appointments will no longer be needed to get vaccinated at 80 select CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Stop & Shop pharmacy locations throughout the state.

To find a vaccine site near you, view RIDOH’s Vaccine Site Locator.


Shop Local and Get Vaccinated Locally

Plans are in the works to provide vaccine opportunities closer to Rhode Islanders. You will soon be able to shop locally and get vaccinated locally, maybe even at a school in your city or town.

We are working closely with our local colleges and universities to hold on-campus clinics to make sure vaccine is even more accessible.

We also have plans to get eligible high school students and their families vaccinated through an initiative for those who are age 16 or older.


Changes to Vaccine Interest Notification List (VINL) 
 
Because vaccine is more widely accessible now, we are phasing out the vaccine pre-registration system, known as the Vaccine Interest Notification List (VINL).

Anyone who signed up between now and Sunday, May 2, will get an appointment, but pre-registrations will end on Monday, May 3. Sign up at portal.ri.gov or by calling 844-930-1779.

However, if you want to get vaccinated at one of the State-run sites, making an appointment in advance is still the best way to go, so we are going to make sure that slots are always available on www.vaccinateRI.org.


Changes to Appointment Posting Schedule

We will also be shifting away from the Tuesday and Friday appointment posting schedule on www.vaccinateRI.org.

In this phase of vaccine roll out, we are focused on meeting people where they are and making vaccination as easy, convenient, and accessible as possible. By posting a smaller number of appointments throughout the week, instead of a large number of appointments twice a week, we can be more responsive to demand for vaccine.


New Mask Guidance

This week, the state updated outdoor mask guidance to align with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

Under the new guidance, fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks outdoors in public when they are at least three feet apart from others. Masks are still required for everyone in public indoor spaces. This update will take effect in Rhode Island on Friday, April 30.


Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) Pause

We are restarting the administration of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine in Rhode Island this week.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for a pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine earlier this month. Federal officials eventually identified 15 instances of something called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome in people who had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This was out of millions of people who were vaccinated.

These reports, and the benefits and the risks, were all carefully reviewed at the national level by teams of doctors and scientists. Last week, the FDA and the CDC recommended that states start administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine again.

Healthcare providers are now aware of this extremely rare health event, and how it should be reported and treated.

If you have questions about Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or the other COVID-19 vaccines, please talk to your healthcare provider.


Data in Groups with High Vaccination Rates

We are now seeing data that shows vaccines are extremely effective at preventing you from having serious illness because of COVID-19.

Our fatality numbers and our hospitalization numbers are down, and those decreases are the most pronounced in the groups with the highest vaccination rates. For example, our hospitalization rate for people age 60 and older is down 80% from its peak in early December.

This week, the CDC released some data that confirmed this trend. The CDC is seeing that fully vaccinated adults age 65 or older are 94% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people of the same age who were not vaccinated.

In that same study, the CDC found that people age 65 or older who were partially vaccinated were 64% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people who were not vaccinated.


Remember to Get Your Second Shot

Roughly 96% of Rhode Islanders who get a first dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine are getting their second dose. This is great because clinical trials show that this is how you get the full amount of protection. It is important for everyone to get their second shot to be protected, especially against different variants that are circulating around the world.

If you missed your second dose appointment or were unable to schedule a second dose appointment while you were at the site where you received your first dose, appointments are available at VaccinateRI.org or by phone at 844-930-1779 or 2-1-1. At VaccinateRI.org, please select the vaccine brand you received at your first appointment in the search tool to find applicable vaccination clinics. For additional assistance, please contact RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov.


People Vaccinated With COVID-19 Vaccines Not Authorized in the US

Some people may have received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not currently authorized in the United States. No data are available on the safety or efficacy of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized in the United States after receipt of a non-FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. However, in some circumstances people who received a COVID-19 vaccine not currently authorized in the United States may be offered revaccination with an FDA-authorized vaccine: 

  • COVID-19 vaccines not authorized by FDA but authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO)
    • People who completed a COVID-19 vaccination series with a vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use by WHO do not need any additional doses with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
    • People who are partially vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine series authorized for emergency use by WHO may be offered an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series. 
       
  • COVID-19 vaccines not authorized by FDA or not authorized for emergency use by WHO
    • People who completed or partially completed a COVID-19 vaccine series with a vaccine that is not authorized by FDA or not authorized for emergency use by WHO may be offered an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series. 

Administration of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine in these people should comply with all conditions of use specified under the EUA for the vaccine being used. The minimum interval between the last dose of a non-FDA authorized vaccine and an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine is 28 days.


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.” 

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 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 and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.