Rhode Island

All Rhode Island Adults to Be COVID Vaccine Eligible on April 19

If 70% of Rhode Island's population is vaccinated, the state could lift COVID-19 emergency restrictions, the governor said

Elvin Toro, 26, a former army medic, organizes his syringes before giving out the next doses to a local resident at Central Falls High School in Central Falls, Rhode Island

All Rhode Island residents ages 16 and older will be eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine starting April 19, Gov. Daniel McKee said Thursday.

That will be possible because the state has learned that it will be getting significantly more vaccine from the federal government in the near future, the Democratic governor said at a news conference.

President Joe Biden promised last week that all of the nation’s adults would be eligible for coronavirus vaccines by May 1.

“If Rhode Island can get the vaccine supply we need, we can achieve and beat this goal,” he said. “We are confident the president will deliver.”

He warned that it will likely take two weeks or so for everyone who wants an appointment to book one, but the goal is to provide a first dose of the vaccine to everyone who signs up by the end of May, McKee said.

As people try to emerge from the pandemic, the focus turns to the best ways to socialize and travel again. Digital Vaccine Passports are one way experts have suggested will help streamline the process, but the technology doesn't come without criticism and concerns.

The state this week received about 48,000 doses, an amount expected to grow to about 51,000 next week and continue to increase gradually moving forward, Thomas McCarthy, the state’s COVID-19 response team’s executive director said.

Health officials previously announced the state will start receiving at least 16,000 weekly doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The state has already given more than 282,000 vaccine first doses while more than 136,000 people, or about 12% of the state population, have been fully vaccinated, state Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said. But she said mask-wearing is still important.

If 70% of the state population is vaccinated, the state could lift COVID-19 emergency restrictions, McKee said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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