COVID-19 Vaccine in Rhode Island



Mikela Piacrd


It's finally here, the COVID-19 vaccine is now in Rhode Island. This Monday, December 21, 2020, the Rhode Island COVID-19 vaccine subcommittee unanimously approved the use of the Moderna vaccine in healthcare facilities. Following the vaccine protocols, as proposed by the CDC, healthcare workers on the frontlines will receive the vaccine first, following them will be the three million elders living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities throughout the United States.

In Rhode Island, frontline healthcare workers aged 18 years or older can receive the vaccine as soon as it is shipped to their designated health facilities. As of Monday afternoon, Women and Infants, Miriam, Butler, and Newport hospitals received their first shipments.

Over the weekend, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted that frontline workers and people aged 75 and older should be next in line to receive the vaccine. The panel also voted that the vaccine be authorized to be used in emergency situations after the FDA granted an Emergency Use Authorization for adults 18 years and older.

According to the Rhode Island COVID-19 interim vaccination plan, there are three phases of the vaccine distribution. During Phase 1A, high-risk healthcare workers and first responders will receive the vaccine first. In Phase 1B, more vaccines become available to other healthcare workers, and those who received the vaccination during Phase 1A will receive their second dose. During Phase 2, the vaccine will be supplied to meet the level of demand. The population that will be prioritized to receive the vaccine during this phase include K-12 teachers, school staff, childcare providers, critical workers in high-risk settings, people with moderate comorbid conditions, people in homeless shelters or group homes and staff, incarcerated or detained people and facility staff, and all older adults. During the final phase, Phase 3, the rest of the population will be vaccinated. This includes young adults, children, and workers in industries important to the functioning of society.

Twenty million doses of Moderna’s vaccine are predicted to be distributed across the country before the end of the year. Within that margin, Rhode Island is said to get 19,000 first doses in its initial shipment, which were on track to arrive at all of Rhode Island’s hospitals by December 21st. A majority of the Moderna vaccine assigned to Rhode Island will go towards Pfizer’s partnership with CVS and Walgreens, in which these companies will provide the vaccine to those in nursing homes in the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. It has been proposed that Rhode Island nursing homes still won’t begin vaccination clinics until December 28 at the earliest.