RI reports 577 new COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths; vaccinations urged after Pfizer gets full approval

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — Now that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has earned full approval from the FDA, Gov. Dan McKee and the R.I. Department of Health are urging Rhode Islanders to go out and get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

“To anyone who was on the fence, the science is crystal clear. These vaccines are safe, and they are very effective at keeping people healthy,” McKee said in a statement.

“It is time,” he continued. “It is time to protect yourself. It is time to protect your family. It is time to get vaccinated.”

More than 200 million Pfizer doses have so far been administered in the U.S. alone since emergency use began in December, the Associated Press reports.

According to the most recent data from the R.I. Department of Health, more than 354,000 Rhode Islanders who are at least partially vaccinated received the Pfizer vaccine, while roughly 241,000 got Moderna and 44,000 got Johnson & Johnson.

In order to win full FDA approval, Pfizer had to submit hundreds of pages of clinical data, safety reports and information on the manufacturing process.

“The FDA did an extremely thorough review of this vaccine and reaffirmed that it absolutely was safe,” Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said. “It is undeniable that the COVID-19 vaccines save lives. If you are eligible, get vaccinated today to protect you and your family. It’s easier than it has ever been before.”

The full approval is for people ages 16 and older. Children ages 12 to 15 remain under the emergency use authorization.

A 12 News analysis shows about 67% of Rhode Island’s population is at least partially vaccinated to date, while 61% has received their final dose for full vaccination.

The vaccine protects against the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, according to Alexander-Scott, which is fueling the recent increase in new infections and hospitalizations locally and nationwide.

On Monday, the Health Department reported 577 new positive cases since data was last released on Friday, and also added 42 cases to the daily totals prior to that.

Four more Rhode Islanders have died after contracting COVID-19, health officials disclosed.

Hospitalizations climbed to 103 on Monday, with 19 patients in the intensive care unit and eight on ventilators, the data shows.

The state is still considered to have high transmission of the virus, with a rate of 186 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days. That rate, which the CDC uses to track community transmission, has actually declined from a high of 202 over the past few days, following weeks of rapid growth.

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