Rhode Island will be in the national spotlight for the COVID-19 vaccine


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Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and in case you were wondering, it will take you 29 hours to listen to Barack Obama’s new book. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

In case you missed it (ICYMI): Rhode Island was up to 43,923 confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, after adding 2,251 new cases since Friday. The most recent overall daily test-positive rate was 7.8 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 26.5 percent. The state announced 16 more deaths, bringing the total to 1,270. There were 256 people in the hospital.


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Rhode Island will be on the country’s front line when it comes to testing COVID-19 vaccine distribution, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be at the front of the line for actually getting the shots.

Pfizer announced Monday that Rhode Island, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas have been selected to participate in the pharmaceutical giant’s immunization pilot program, which is designed to help guide the national distribution strategy.

The company said it picked the four states because of their differences in size, diversity of populations, immunization infrastructure, and their need to reach individuals in both urban and rural areas.

“We are hopeful that results from this vaccine delivery pilot will serve as the model for other U.S. states and international governments, as they prepare to implement effective COVID-19 vaccine programs,” Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group President Angela Hwang said in a statement.

Potential vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have shown promising results over the last 10 days, and Governor Gina Raimondo has said that she believes that a limited supply of vaccines could be available to Americans by the end of the year, with the shots becoming widely available in 2021.


The states participating in the pilot program will not receive preferential treatment when it comes to actually receiving the vaccine, but it does place Rhode Island in the national spotlight at a time when infections are soaring.

The distribution of the vaccine has been cited as a potential challenge because Pfizer’s vaccine has to be shipped and stored at a temperature of 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. (By comparison, Moderna’s vaccine can be stored at a balmy 4 degrees below zero.)

Analysts at UBS have warned that many hospitals do not have the capacity currently to store Pfizer’s vaccine based on the required temperature. That’s one of the issues that will be explored as part of the pilot program.


⚓ Board members for the Providence External Review Authority voted 6-3 to fire the organization’s embattled executive director Jose Batista, a decision that has already infuriated the community. Read more.

⚓ A survey unveiled on Monday underscores the need to provide more affordable housing, a lower cost of living, and greater job opportunities to all Rhode Islanders amid the pandemic, particularly to residents of the state’s core cities with large Black and Latino populations. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Island’s two major teachers' unions are calling schools to move to remote learning for the rest of 2020. Read more.


Elena Nicolella, a Lincoln resident and the executive director of the New England States Consortium Systems Organization, has a letter to the editor reminding us of the vital work government employees do every day. Read more.


Health: Here’s everything that we know about Moderna’s potential COVID-19 vaccine. Read more.

Education: It’s really expensive to bribe your kid’s way into Harvard, allegedly. Read more.

Opinion: The Globe’s editorial board calls on the federal courts to extend the 2020 census deadline. Read more.

Travel: If you’re struggling to keep track of each state’s travel restrictions, here’s a helpful guide to New England. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ The state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education is meeting virtually at 5:30 p.m. to discuss a five-year statewide strategic plan for education.

⚓ The Institute at Brown University for Environment & Society (IBES) and The Policy Lab at Brown are hosting a 10 a.m. discussion on how the state can increase the resilience of coastal infrastructure to better serve communities.

⚓ At 6 p.m., the Providence Street Coalition is hosting a panel conversation with stakeholders on the future of Kennedy Plaza.

⚓ The Providence Preservation Society’s 2020 Symposium continues with a 3 p.m. panel discussion on how to make preservation more inclusive and relevant.


⚓ Do you ❤️ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.

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Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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