Sen. Reed Continues Pushing for More Vaccine Doses, Distribution, and Access & Says Transparency and Clear Communication Are Key to Effective Vax Campaign
PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to protect Rhode Islanders, improve public health, and effectively distribute doses of COVID-19 vaccine to all who need it, U.S. Senator Jack Reed continues to push the federal government to provide the state with more vaccine doses and additional resources and support to open up more distribution points.
Senator Reed says accelerating the vaccination effort has taken on increased urgency as new, more transmissible coronavirus variants emerge worldwide. He is working with colleagues in Congress to provide $14 billion to accelerate vaccine distribution and research, in addition to a $1.75 billion fund to help scientists spot and contain virus mutations.
According to federal data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 61.3 million vaccine doses have been administered to Americans nationwide, including nearly 191,000 doses in Rhode Island. The U.S. is currently administering over 1.8 million shots a day nationwide.
The Biden Administration recently purchased an additional 200 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and is ramping up weekly distribution to states and sending doses directly to pharmacies and community health centers. Rhode Island and other states will receive a significant increase in vaccine doses starting this week. The CDC reports Rhode Island is slated to get 22,500 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to distribute this week.
Senator Reed says the increased shipments of vaccine doses are welcome, but more work is needed to scale up the ability to get the shots to the people who need them. He is urging transparency, clear communication, and accountability at every level of government.
“People are understandably frustrated and worried about their loved ones. There has been some progress, but nobody will be totally satisfied until everyone who wants a shot can get one. And in terms of public health, we’ll all be safer when everyone is vaccinated. So we’ve got to keep improving vaccine distribution and accessibility and we must ensure Rhode Islanders have all the facts they need to make informed decisions and can easily navigate access to a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s their turn,” said Senator Reed.
Reed is working with his colleagues in Congress to deliver more vaccine help. This week, the U.S. Senate will work to advance a proposal to invest over $14 billion to accelerate the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines nationwide and other critical health needs. The federal funds will support the development of community vaccination centers, as well as new mobile vaccination units that can help serve homebound and hard-to-reach people and communities. It also includes additional funds for public health departments to hire 100,000 public health workers whose duties will include vaccine outreach.
“We’ve got to deliver more help to pandemic-strapped Americans and communities. That means getting people the shots they need to protect themselves and their loved ones. We’ve got to put resources in place to save lives, livelihoods, and the life’s work people have put into their businesses that are struggling due to the pandemic,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and a backer of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. “We are all in this together. I will continue doing my part to deliver federal funds and resources and serve my fellow Rhode Islanders as effectively as possible.”
As Rhode Island ramps up vaccine deliveries, Senator Reed says it is important for everyone to know the answer to key questions, such as: When will it be my turn? How do I know when and where to go?
WHEN IS IT MY TURN TO GET THE VACCINE?
Starting tomorrow, Monday, February 22, Rhode Islanders age 65 and older are eligible for the vaccine. Additionally, health care workers, first responders, and long-term care residents may also continue to receive the vaccine. And the VA Providence Health Care System has begun notifying veterans who are eligible to receive the vaccine through the VA.
To keep Rhode Islanders in the know about the vaccination process and alert them when they are eligible, the state established a COVID-19 Vaccine Interest List.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN AND WHERE TO GET THE VACCINE?
Eligible Rhode Islanders should go to VaccinateRI.org or call the hotline: 844-930-1779 to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. There are several options:
Mass-Vaccination Clinics: The state has two clinics at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence and the former Citizens Bank call center on Sockanosset Cross Road in Cranston.
Some cities and towns in Rhode Island have also set up vaccine distribution clinics for eligible residents, such as the joint vaccination center for Newport and Middletown residents over the age of 75 that opened this weekend at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) campus. Appointments for municipal vaccine distribution sites are required. Please visit your town’s website: https://www.ri.gov/towns/
Homebound seniors and persons unable to travel to receive the vaccine may also request help through the state’s Request for In-Home COVID-19 Vaccination.
Once vaccinated, Senator Reed says it will also be important to know the correct answer to this key question:
ONCE I’VE BEEN VACCINATED, WILL I STILL NEED TO WEAR A MASK?
Yes. While the threat of serious illness from COVID-19 will be significantly reduced with the vaccine, it is currently recommended that people continue to wear a mask until everyone receives a vaccine and broad immunity is achieved.