Vaccines have been given to board members at Lifespan and trustees at Care New England even as older adults across the state have to wait weeks or months for their turn, officials say.
Both companies, the state's largest and second-largest hospital groups, respectively, have expanded eligibility to everyone who works there, no matter their age or risk or exposure, the Providence Journal reported. That includes lab techs, top administrators and others.
Jane Bruno, spokesperson for Lifespan, the state's largest employer, said board members were offered available vaccination slots last weekend as part of the lowest tier of priority.
Care New England, which includes Kent Hospital, included trustees because of "their essential role in quality and financial oversight of the hospital," said Dr. Raymond Powrie, executive chief of medicine.
State Department of Health spokesman Joseph Wendelken said the state provided vaccine to hospitals based on their total number of employees.
"The main aim of the first portion of our vaccination campaign is to preserve the hospital system. For that reason, it's a reasonable use of vaccine for hospitals to vaccinate employees who are not necessarily high risk for exposure, but who are still critical to the functioning of the hospital. For example, a hospital cannot function without an IT department," he said.