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Some Dunkin’ stores in R.I. will be pop-up COVID-19 vaccine locations on May 26

Tents outside some of the iconic coffee-and-donut shops will offer free samples and swag along with COVID shots, the governor’s office said.

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee addresses the media at the weekly COVID-19 press conference. in Providence, R.I., Thursday, April 29, 2021.
Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee addresses the media at the weekly COVID-19 press conference. in Providence, R.I., Thursday, April 29, 2021.Gretchen Ertl/The Boston Globe

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island has administered about 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, the downtown arena named after the local fast-food staple.

Now, the state is going right to the source: On May 26, several Dunkin’ locations will have pop-up vaccination tents outside, free swag, and the opportunity to help fund Providence’s children’s hospital, the governor’s office said.

The news came at Gov. Dan McKee’s weekly coronavirus briefing on Thursday at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

May 26 is an annual fundraiser at Dunkin’ locations in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts for Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence. For every iced coffee they sell, they’ll donate $1 to the hospital. Since 2010, it’s raised $2 million, Dunkin’ spokesman Chris Raia said.


Along with that, this year, five or six Dunkin’ locations in Rhode Island will have the pop-up vaccination sites through the state Department of Health, Raia said. They’ll target areas of focus for the Department of Health, and places with big enough parking lots, Raia said. The exact locations still hadn’t been settled yet, Raia said.

Along with the vaccinations, Dunkin’ is planning giveaways like gift certificates, Raia said. No appointment will be necessary, Raia said.

Like other states, Rhode Island is now thinking of ways to get people off the fence and get their shot. Ohio is having a lottery where people could win $1 million.

For Rhode Island, these incentives will include getting your shot at Dunkin’. It’s all part of the state’s effort to meet people where they are.

The state will also be offering vaccines at workplaces, at state parks and beaches this spring and summer, at recovery centers, and at transportation hubs, including T.F. Green Airport in Warwick.

“We are going to be where Rhode Islanders are in the next few weeks and the next few months,” said Tom McCarthy, the executive director of COVID response at the state Department of Health.


Vaccinations are an important part of the reason why the health situation in Rhode Island is staying stable, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the director of the state Department of Health, said Thursday. She cited decreasing hospitalizations and other data points as signs of progress in Rhode Island.

In other news from the state’s weekly COVID update:

  • Rhode Island will drop its residency requirements to get a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday. Right now, people have to either live, work or study in Rhode Island to get vaccinated here. But with more vaccines available, people who travel to Rhode Island will also be able to get vaccinated here.
  • Kids 12 to 15 years old are now eligible for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Rhode Island. To highlight the benefits, McKee hosted two pediatricians, Dr. Sabina Holland and Dr. Rick Ohnmacht, to speak at the news conference. “Vaccination is key to protecting children, both in school and outside school,” Holland said. “Vaccination is critical for our children to safely go to camp, to safely play sports, and to be able to get back to interacting with their family and their friends.”
  • Nightclubs in Rhode Island will be able to open at full capacity on May 28 if they require proof of vaccination. If they don’t require proof of vaccination, they can reopen at 50 percent then, McKee said.

Just as the governor was speaking, reports were emerging that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would soon ease indoor mask guidance for fully vaccinated people. McKee told reporters that he was getting texts about it just as they were. The state’s Department of Health would make the call on the guidance here, but, he added: “The CDC is a good endorsement.”

Brian Amaral can be reached at brian.amaral@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.