Federal and local health officials are encouraging 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. Both states have announced they’re lifting the mask mandate and other restrictions for people who are fully vaccinated.
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.
Additionally, the state is partnering with businesses and schools to host their own clinics, and pop-up clinics will be coming to high-traffic areas this spring and summer like beaches, parks and TF Green Airport.
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.
However, you no longer require an appointment to get vaccinated at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Sockanosset Cross Road in Cranston, or West Main Road in Middletown.
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.
Appointments are required for the regional sites at the Johnson Recreation Center and Westerly Senior Center, but no longer on Taunton Avenue in East Providence.
Who: Anyone ages 12 and older can get vaccinated. On May 17, 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 12 years of age and older is eligible to get vaccinated at locations statewide.
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.
The state plans to phase out its vaccine preregistration system by the end of May. Those who have already signed up will be contacted with an opportunity to make an appointment.
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.