coronavirus pandemic

RI Opens COVID Vaccination Appointments to Residents 65 and Older

The move comes as state lawmakers are set to question health officials about the state's slow rollout of vaccines.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

Rhode Island on Monday began making COVID-19 vaccination appointments available to residents aged 65 and older amid questions over the pace of the state's vaccine rollout.

Appointments for eligible residents are expected to be available at mass vaccination sites such as the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence and the old Citizens Bank building in Cranston; as well as at retail pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens. Municipalities are also offering vaccine clinics to residents.

Those seeking appointments can visit or call 1-844-930-1779.

The move comes as state lawmakers are set to question health officials about the state's slow rollout of vaccines.

The Senate Committee on Rules, Government Ethics, and Oversight has called health director Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott and Major General Christopher Callahan of the Rhode Island national guard to answer questions, WJAR reports.

Sen. Louis DiPalma has said some 60,000 doses in the state that have not been distributed, according to WJAR.

Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Dan McKee said he wants cities and towns to become more involved in the COVID-19 vaccination effort to help speed up distribution once more shots become available.

Rhode Island is one of several states across the country getting fewer doses of Pfizer’s vaccine than expected. Gov. Gina Raimondo said they were set to receive 11,000 doses next week, and now they’re only getting about 7,000.

McKee said Friday that he hopes to expand the state’s capacity to get shots in arms after he takes over from Gov. Gina Raimondo, the Providence Journal reports. Cities and towns “are going to be a big part of that,” McKee said in a virtual meeting with his COVID-19 advisers.

“We need to use our communities to create this 9/11 moment where we bring people together in a way that we are rallying around an enemy, and the COVID is the enemy, and we are going to beat that enemy,” McKee said.

The Democrat did not provide more detail about his plans for cities and towns, but he said he will continue to use state vaccination sites created under the Raimondo administration. McKee has been critical of the state’s vaccination efforts, which he said are moving too slow.

Raimondo is leaving her post after being chosen by President Joe Biden to lead the Commerce Department.

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