PROVIDENCE — More than one million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given in Rhode Island so far amid the frenzied effort to get shots in arms and end the pandemic.
Dozens of them have now been given in the most quintessentially Rhode Island of places: Dunkin’ parking lots. On Wednesday, to mark what Dunkin’ calls Iced Coffee Day, five Rhode Island Dunkin’ locations had COVID pop-up vaccine sites.
The partnership between the Canton, Massachusetts-based fast-food chain and the state of Rhode Island got 82 Moderna shots in arms — 23 at the Dunkin’ on Social Street in Woonsocket, 18 at the Dunkin’ on Ten Rod Road in North Kingstown, 18 at the Dunkin’ on Armistice Boulevard in Pawtucket, 14 at the Dunkin’ on Mineral Spring Avenue in North Providence, and nine at the Dunkin’ on Main Street in West Warwick.
That’s only a fraction of the total number of doses given in Rhode Island Wednesday (1,196 first doses, 3,311 total). But it is part of the state’s efforts to meet people where they are and get people vaccinated when they might not be opposed to it, but also aren’t going out of their way to get it done.
When speaking of proportions, though, there’s a more impressive figure: On Iced Coffee Day, Dunkin’ also donates $1 from every iced coffee or cold brew purchase in Rhode Island or Bristol County, Massachusetts to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence. The grand total this year: More than $140,000, per spokesman Chris Raia.
The population of Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts together is about 1.6 million. That means nearly a tenth of people in the area was drinking a cold brew or iced coffee on Wednesday. The nice weather helped move coffees, and so did the sense that everyone is eager to get back to normal life and the things they’ve always enjoyed, said Molly Loh, who works in Dunkin’ field marketing and helped arrange the fundraiser with franchisees.
“It was nice to get back out and have everybody come together for this great cause,” Loh said.
Karli Blossom works in development at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and helps lead the initiative for the institution, which is owned by Lifespan Corp. She did her part.
“I have a Dunkin’ iced coffee every day,” Blossom said Thursday, “but yesterday I had two.”
Her order is a medium cold brew black. She downed two of them as she worked on the fundraiser Wednesday.
“It feels good to be able to do something small like that that still has a big impact,” Blossom said. “You think a dollar’s not going to make a big difference, but you hear it’s $140,000 because 140,000 coffees were sold, and it tells you what kind of impact you can have.”