Federal and state health officials are urging everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying it’s safe, effective, and the best way to protect yourself and those around you against severe illness.
In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, people 12 and older are eligible to get vaccinated and can do so at a variety of locations including community clinics and pharmacies.
In early November, children ages 5 to 11 started receiving the Pfizer vaccine after it was given federal approval for that age group. The doses are about a third of what’s given to adults and they’re administered about three weeks apart.
To be considered fully vaccinated, a person must be at least two weeks removed from receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
At this time, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for people under the age of 18.
The vaccine is free and health insurance is not required.
Here’s everything else you need to know:
Getting Vaccinated in Rhode Island
Where: There are a few dozen locations around the state offering the vaccine, from state-run, regional and community clinics to hospitals and participating pharmacies.
The state is also partnering with schools and businesses to host clinics.
How: State officials say the best way to get vaccinated is to make an appointment ahead of time. For the state-run sites, visit VaccinateRI.org or call 844-930-1779 to book a time slot.
You also don’t need an appointment at CVS, Walgreens, Stop & Shop and Walmart pharmacies, but you can make one to ensure they have a shot for you when you arrive.
Select independent pharmacies are posting their appointments on VaccinateRI.org.
Who: Anyone 5 and older can get vaccinated. In the spring, the state removed the residency requirement so people visiting Rhode Island can also get vaccinated if they choose.
If you’re unable to get to a vaccination site, RIPTA is offering rides to appointments, along with rideshare services Uber and Lyft. Vaccinations are also available for homebound individuals through the city or town in which they live.
Getting Vaccinated in Massachusetts
Similar to Rhode Island, anyone 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated. Visit VaxFinder.mass.gov to see available appointments, or call 211 or (877) 211-6277 for assistance.
Walk-in vaccinations are accepted seven days a week at mass vaccination sites, meaning an appointment is not required.
Retail pharmacies that are offering the vaccine are also listed on Vaxfinder.mass.gov.
People who are homebound can call (833) 983-0485 to schedule an at-home vaccination.
If you need public transportation, state officials suggest using the MBTA Trip Planner.
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Rhode Island Testing
In addition to vaccinations, health officials say testing is a critical part of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The R.I. Department of Health recommends getting tested if you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or plan to travel out of state.
Health officials also say people who are not fully vaccinated should continue to get tested weekly.
Tests are free and to schedule an appointment, visit portal.ri.gov, call (401) 222-8022, or go through your health care provider. Many communities are also offering rapid testing on specific dates and times.
Like Rhode Island, coronavirus testing is widely available at sites across Massachusetts, and home testing is also available at no cost to all eligible adults.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.