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CORONAVIRUS

People age 16 and older with underlying health conditions, residents age 60 to 64 now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in R.I.

The state expanded eligibility just hours after Lifespan announced it would vaccine immunosuppressed people age 16 and older

Anthony Ficocelli, 49, of North Providence, receives his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the school in Central Falls, Rhode Island, in February.
Anthony Ficocelli, 49, of North Providence, receives his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the school in Central Falls, Rhode Island, in February.Gretchen Ertl/The Boston Globe

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Islanders who are 60 to 64 years old and those older than 16 with specific underlying health conditions will be able to start signing up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments starting Friday, according to a joint news release by Governor Daniel J. McKee and the state health department on Thursday.

People age 16 to 64 are eligible to be vaccinated if they have one of the following conditions; type 1 or type 2 diabetes; lung disease such as COPD, emphysema, or cystic fibrosis; heart disease; or kidney disease.

People over 16 years old are also eligible if they have a weakened immune system. This includes people who have cancer, residents who receive chemotherapy or radiation, people who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, people who have sickle cell disease, people who take medicine that weakens the immune system, and people who are pregnant.

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The full list of underlying health conditions are found on the state health department’s website. And people who are 16 and 17 are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

New appointments at Rhode Island’s three state-run vaccination sites will be added to the online portal at 5 p.m. on Friday. The three clinics include the Providence location at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, the location in Cranston on Sockanosset Cross Road, and the most recently opened location in Middletown at 1400 West Main Road.

People who do not have internet access can call 844-930-1779.

Walgreens and CVS, both of which receive a portion of their vaccine doses through a partnership with the state, expect to adjust their eligibility criteria to take appointments for people in these two groups at 11 a.m. on Friday.

“Our goal is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, and opening eligibility to this next group of Rhode Islanders is an important and encouraging step toward that goal,” said McKee in a statement. “We will continue to build out and increase our state’s vaccination capacity to ensure we are prepared to get shots in arms when the vaccine supply increases.”

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The news comes just hours after Lifespan Corporation, the state’s largest health care system, started allowing those over the age of 16 to start registering for a vaccine if they have specific underlying health conditions.


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz.