WARWICK, RI — Kent Hospital will be among five RI hospitals to receive about 1,000 doses each of COVID-19 vaccine for frontline hospital workers today and Tuesday, on the recommendation of the Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee during an emergency meeting this morning.
In addition to Kent, vaccine will go to Newport Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital (and Hasbro Children’s Hospital), Women & Infants Hospital, and The Miriam Hospital, the Rhode Island Department of Health announced. RIDOH has accepted the recommendation and has communicated to hospitals that they may begin vaccinating their workers as soon as vaccine arrives.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer last week after determining that the vaccine was safe and effective. Following the FDA vote, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group that provides guidance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued recommendations on its use. A second vaccine, made by Moderna, will start the same process this week.
The rollout of the initial vaccine doses follows the plan laid out earlier this month by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, starting with medical workers, supplied by a few thousand initial doses.
“After a rigorous scientific review, we know that COVID-19 vaccine is safe. We also know that it is one of the most effective vaccines ever developed,” said Director of Health Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. “In the coming weeks and months, as vaccine becomes more available, getting vaccinated will be one of the most powerful things you can do to keep yourself and the people you love safe from COVID-19. We are going to work to ensure that every person in every community in Rhode Island has access to the vaccine, especially those communities hardest hit by this virus.”
“We have never had a vaccine that has been – or will be – more closely monitored than the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr.Philip Chan, Consultant Medical Director for RIDOH’s Division of Preparedness, Response, Infectious Disease, and Emergency Medical Services. “Teams of scientists at the national level have been scrutinizing thousands of pages of technical data for weeks, focusing on vaccine effectiveness, safety, and the manufacturing process, and our own local review has happened here in Rhode Island. I absolutely plan on getting vaccinated when it is my turn.”
Rhode Island’s COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee is comprised of epidemiologists, primary care providers, pharmacists, pediatricians, long-term care advocates, ethicists, nonprofit leaders, school leaders, faith leaders, and others. It was responsible for doing an independent review of the process for evaluating the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The Subcommittee is advising on how to prioritize distribution of the vaccine to ensure that it is done equitably, and in a way that best protects the State as a whole.