Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Rhode Island Department of Education, and community partners today announced that they have coordinated more than 100 back-to-school and community-based COVID-19 clinics between early August and mid-September.

With the rise in the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is found to be several times as transmissible as primary strains of COVID-19, the State is urging students 12 or older and their families to get vaccinated before the start of school.

“If you haven’t gotten your COVID-19 vaccine yet, or are just turning 12 and becoming eligible, please get vaccinated – it is time,” said Governor Dan McKee in a statement. “Teams throughout the state have worked in lock-step to make sure that every student and their family in every school district has easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage all eligible Rhode Islanders to make the healthy choice and get vaccinated before school starts.”

According to a press release from Governor McKee’s office, the Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized for youth 12 or older. The Pfizer vaccine (in addition to other options for community members 18 or older) will be available at all of the clinics provided below. Because the Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses in three-week increments, it is important to get vaccinated as soon as possible. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose has been administered.

“Getting vaccinated and making sure that the eligible children, young adults, and adults in your life are vaccinated too is the single best thing you can do right now to protect yourself and your family from the Delta variant, the more contagious strain of COVID-19,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, M.D., M.P.H. “School districts, community organizations, and our response team at the State level have come together to make these vaccination opportunities available in people’s neighborhoods throughout Rhode Island. With case rates on the rise, and with these clinics available, it absolutely is time.”

The back-to-school vaccination campaign is an integral element of the State’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. The larger the number of Rhode Island students who get vaccinated, the healthier Rhode Island will be and the fewer disruptions to in-person learning students and teachers will experience.

“Getting every eligible Rhode Island student and school staff member vaccinated is key for a safe and successful full return to in-person learning,” said Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green in a statement. “With the start of the school year just weeks away, we are taking swift action in partnership with RIDOH and our local school leaders to make it easier for everyone to get fully vaccinated. It is time – we ask that all who are eligible take advantage of the many vaccination clinics we’ll be offering in the coming weeks.”

To learn more about vaccinations and to sign up today, visit vaccinateri.org.

For a full list of back-to-school clinics, visit back2schoolri.com.

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).