PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Health released its largest batch of appointments to date Friday evening.
Health officials and Gov. Dan McKee said approximately 12,000 appointments at the state-run mass vaccination sites and independent pharmacies would be posted on VaccinateRI.org.
In addition to new appointments, the state also added new independent pharmacy locations offering shots: AJ’s Pharmacy in Providence, Green Line Apothecary in Providence and Wakefield, and White Cross Pharmacy in North Providence.
On Monday, vaccine clinics at the senior centers in East Providence and Westerly and the indoor recreation center in Johnston will begin taking appointments. Eligible Rhode Islanders can sign up through VaccinateRI.org.
The release of the appointments comes just a few days before eligibility expands to Rhode Islanders in their 50s on Monday. They will be able to book through retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens just after midnight Monday, followed by the mass vaccination sites starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Though a factory mix-up caused delays with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, state health officials don’t expect that to affect the 16,000 doses arriving next week, but did say it could affect shipments in future weeks.
The state will start using its pre-registration system Wednesday to alert and offer eligible individuals appointments as they become available. People who are notified will be given a 24-hour window to make the appointment before the window closes and is offered to someone else.
State health officials say nearly 80,000 people have already pre-registered through portal.ri.gov.
New data released Friday shows nearly 238,000 people in Rhode Island are now fully vaccinated, and the state has administered 578,000 total doses so far.
Another six people have died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the reported death toll to 2,630.
Health officials also reported 314 new cases and a 1.9% daily positivity rate, with more than 16,000 tests administered on Thursday.
Hospitalizations ticked up to 136, with 13 patients in the intensive care unit and nine on ventilators.
Health officials are also urging people to remain vigilant and diligent about following public health guidelines, including getting tested ahead of any planned gatherings this weekend.
“Celebrating outdoors is always safer,” Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said Thursday. “If you are indoors, seating people farther apart is important, and mask-wearing is very important as well.”
Dr. Alexander-Scott noted how holidays have caused difficulty in the past, with huge spikes in cases following Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve.
“We cannot let that happen again,” Alexander-Scott said, while also encouraging people to worship virtually instead of attending in-person services this weekend.
Rhode Island’s social gathering limit is currently 15 people indoors and 50 outdoors.
All state-run, K-12, and general public test sites will be closed this Sunday for the holiday, according to the R.I. Department of Health.