PROVIDENCE — Rhode Islanders over the age of 75 will be able to start registering to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Walgreens’ website starting Feb. 7 between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Then 14 locations in Rhode Island will begin administering shots starting Feb. 9, according to Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the director of Rhode Island Department of Health, during a Thursday press conference.
In addition, Woonsocket-based CVS Health is expanding their vaccine availability to three additional locations than what was previously announced earlier this week. Two retail locations in Providence and Johnston will begin scheduling appointments Feb. 6, and will begin administering vaccines on Feb. 7.
On Feb. 10, a CVS in Newport will begin scheduling appointments for the following day.
Local and regional vaccination clinics will be ran by municipalities.
Each week for four weeks, starting the week of Feb. 14, cities and towns will receive a portion of the state’s 7,000 doses to administer to their residents, according to Alexander-Scott. The amount each municipality receives will be determined by population.
This news comes as the state freed up 5,000 doses of vaccine for those over the age of 75 last weekend, which were handed out to municipalities across Rhode Island.
“It was bumpy, and it was rough,” she said, as municipalities were only notified a few days in advance.
Later this month, between five and 10 state-run vaccination sites will begin to open to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. There are two state-run clinics in undisclosed locations that are open to eligible populations.
But there are no appointments available for the public at the state-run sites, according to Alexander-Scott.
“People should be prepared to not get an appointment right away,” said Alexander-Scott.
The announcement comes as homebound patients in Rhode Island began receiving doses of the Pfizer vaccine via Integra Community Care Network and their partner Professional Ambulance. The two organizations have been working together to provide acute care at home options to older adults since the fall of 2018. The programs have expanded since the beginning of the pandemic to help keep high risk adults in Rhode Island at home and in good health. The duo started reaching home bound residents who may not have been able to get vaccinated easily.
In addition, a site for COVID-19 vaccinations for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live in congregate care settings and direct care workers opened at the Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln.
Over the last three weeks, the site vaccinated 1,800 individuals and staff, and aims to vaccinate all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as all staff over the next six weeks.
People with disabilities who live in the community will start to get vaccinated in Phase II of Rhode Island’s vaccination plan.
“Community provider organizations are supporting people getting to the clinics. We’re coordinating with our state partners to ensure everyone is able to access these clinics,” said Tina Spears, executive director of Community Provider Network of R.I., and oversees the Lincoln clinic. “And these group homes that are getting vaccinated right now are part of Phase I, long-term congregate care facilities.”
Spears said many individuals will have access to transportation through a provider and many will also have family members and caregivers who will also support their loved one with disabilities.
But Spears said she, and a coalition of organizations — Community Provider Network of Rhode Island, R.I. Disaster Medical Assistance Team, the R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, Medical Reserve Corps and RIDOH — are ensuring these Rhode Islanders have proper access.
Previously, the clinic had administered just under 2,000 doses with an expectation of administering 750 more Thursday.
She added, “I personally think the approach is good, the only thing that could improve it at this point is more vaccine coming to Rhode Island.”