PROVIDENCE, RI — The state is distributing COVID-19 vaccine doses for cities and towns to administer to people 75 and older at a rate Census figures indicate will finish this spring, months before the Biden administrations’ Defense Production Act effort is expected to add 200 million doses to the U.S. 400 million dose order, allowing full vaccination of the population by the fall.
In Warwick, Mayor Frank Picozzi’s office has announced vaccination clinics for the 75 and older population will begin next week. Elizabeth A. Tufts, spokeswoman for the Mayor, said there will be 540 doses administered per week.
According to U.S. Census figures, there are 7,973 people in Warwick who are 75 or older. At 540 per week, it would take about 14 weeks to vaccinate all of those people once. That would place the end of that round of vaccinations at about late May.
Similarly, in Coventry, where the population 75 and older is about 2,484, according to the U.S. Census, and the weekly dosage to be administered is 240 per week, that population wouldn’t be vaccinated once until about 10 weeks have passed, some time in late April.
Luckily for people in the next age group, Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott, director of the RI Department of Health, said the state will not wait for each age group to be fully vaccinated before moving to the next group. However, she said, the state will wait till it’s confident it has adequate supply for the current group before moving to the next.
The Health Department did not immediately respond to a question about how the state would decide to move vaccination efforts to the next age group at each stage.
A graphic showing the state’s vaccination schedule notes vaccinations will begin within the 75 and older age group between February and March, assuming 25 percent of those were vaccinated during stage 1 of the schedule. The timeline for vaccinating people 65 to 74 years old between February and April assumes 15 percent of people in that age group will have been vaccinated during the previous stage. Likewise, the estimate for vaccination of people aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions, between March and July, when people aged 60-64 are scheduled to get vaccinated, assumes 25 percent of that age group will have been included in previous stages of the schedule.
Underlying health conditions: Accelerated access
Alexander-Scott said people with certain underlying health conditions increasing their risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 will be able to get vaccinated during the same timeframe people aged 60-64 will be given access to the vaccine.
Examples of such conditions include diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, lung disease, and immune compromised persons, such as those undergoing chemotherapy and who take immunosuppressants for organ transplants.
Concurrent with local vaccination clinics
Other vaccine providers, such as hospital systems and some community health centers, are reaching out to eligible patients as supply allows, RIDOH reports. Other efforts are also underway to help provide the best possible access to the vaccine. For example, the State and its partners are working to vaccinate eligible Rhode Islanders who attend adult day centers, live in senior or public housing sites, or are homebound.
Limited pharmacy vaccinations
Limited vaccine will be available to eligible individuals by appointment only at retail pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens.
State run vaccination sites
These sites aren’t open yet, but the state is organizing to take advantage of them when vaccine supply increases. Eligible Rhode Islanders will be able to sign up for appointments as supply increases. Appointments will be limited and taken on a first-come first-served basis.
A full list of vaccination supply to each RI city and town: