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Initial COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive in Rhode Island by mid-December

Alexis Rapoza

News Editor

Photo via New York Magazine

Governor Gina Raimondo told Rhode Islanders at her weekly press conference on Thursday that nearly 30,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine could arrive in the state before the end of the month. According to the governor, the state is anticipating about 10,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine and around 19,000 doses of Moderna’s to arrive by mid-December.

The Governor also asserted that the state has been working on distribution plans for weeks, preparing doctors and nurses for the coming vaccine. “We’re a state of a million people, 29,000 shots doesn’t go a long way,” Raimondo said. “So that’s why we are prioritizing where those initial doses will be going. The initial doses will be going to healthcare workers, first responders and high-risk individuals.”

The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) has recommended that healthcare workers and nursing home workers and residents be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, citing the significant possibility of spread and the high-risk for serious illness among those living in nursing homes.

Dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, Dr. Ashish Jha spoke at the Rhode Island House of Representatives Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccine’s first meeting on Wednesday. Jha said that he is supportive of the CDC’s approach to vaccine distribution asserting that those on the frontlines and in nursing homes have “been hit so incredibly hard by this pandemic.” However, Jha also added that it is up to the individual states how closely they follow the CDC’s guidelines.

Scott Schuster, CEO of Wingate Healthcare, said, “We are very, very enthusiastic about being first, getting residents and staff vaccinated, we think that that’s an enormous step forward for reestablishing the consumer confidence that we’ve always had with families in the community.”

The company runs two senior living facilities in Providence and has been among the hardest hit during the coronavirus pandemic.

Schuster said that Wingate has partnered with CVS to offer on-site vaccine distribution, “People will come down from their apartments. They’ll be interviewed. They’ll sign papers typical for any vaccine. They’ll probably get some basic health checks. Then they’ll move to the next section, next area of a room, and then they’ll get the vaccine.”

Wingate says that they anticipate distribution could begin as early as December 15.

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