Cranston opens COVID-19 vaccination clinic; volunteers still needed

Coronavirus
12 on 12: Vaccine 101

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — As more locations become available for Rhode Islanders to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, there’s also a call out for volunteers to staff some of those sites.

On Tuesday, a clinic for Cranston residents opened at the city’s senior center. That and other city- and town-run vaccination sites received new doses this week, however, appointments for those were booked weeks ago.

While any Rhode Islander over the age of 75 is eligible to receive the vaccine at one of the state-run or pharmacy clinics, Cranston has decided to use its stand-by list to immunize its residents by age, starting with the oldest. The city hopes to have everyone in their 80s vaccinated this week.

The Cranston site will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. City leaders say they want to do more but they’re only receiving 550 doses a week from the state over the next four weeks.

The distribution process was left up to the individual cities and towns.

“The first 24 hours was the craziest,” Mayor Ken Hopkins said. “Once we figured out what was happening, the state kind of dropped it on our laps and said, ‘get it done.'”

“So, we registered 390 people, but we got 4,000 phone calls,” he continued. “We had to figure out the frustration of how to stop all the busy signals, so we created a website, and we registered 3,000 people in 48 hours.”

Hopkins hopes their weekly allotment of doses will go up by next month.

Even though the clinic is now up and running, Cranston officials say they’re still seeking doctors, nurses, EMTs and other qualified volunteers to help administer the vaccine.

Volunteers are also needed to contact eligible residents.

No training is required for some of the volunteer opportunities.

Anyone interested can sign up online or by calling the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center at (401) 780-6000.

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