RI vaccine incentive program to benefit nonprofits; drive-thru clinic coming to Wickford

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As the state of Rhode Island works to get more residents vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Dan McKee announced Tuesday some new means to support that mission.

As McKee first alluded to last month, the state will be launching a vaccine incentive program called the “RI Gives Vax Challenge.” For every 5,000 first doses administered, $10,000 grants will be awarded to local nonprofit organizations that aided in the pandemic response and recovery.

The grants will be distributed through the newly created COVID-19 Vaccination Incentive Fund, which has a starting budget of $750,000 — $500,000 from the state and $250,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation.

Once the first 5,000-dose milestone is reached, $100,000 will be given to 10 nonprofits that have applied, according to McKee’s office, followed by $120,000 (12 awards) for the next 5,000 doses, then $150,000 (15 awards) for the third round, $180,000 (18 awards) for the fourth round, and finally, $200,000 (20 awards for the fifth round.

Interested nonprofits can apply for a grant on the Rhode Island Foundation’s website. McKee said applications will be accepted through July 30, however, they have to be submitted by July 13 to be considered for the first round of grants.

Applicants must be located in Rhode Island and need to have provided services or direct assistance to individuals or communities in response to pandemic-related issues such as food insecurity, behavioral health, or learning loss.

Since the program is meant for smaller organizations, their annual operating budget for 2020 must also be less than $3 million.

McKee also announced a new drive-through vaccination clinic at the Wickford Junction train station, which will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon starting this coming weekend.

The clinic will have first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine available, meaning anyone ages 12 and older is eligible to get immunized there. It will be open to Rhode Islanders as well as people visiting from out of state.

Those seeking to get vaccination must arrive in a vehicle — no walk-ups will be accepted — and appointments are recommended, but not required.

To book an appointment, call 844-930-1779 or visit VaccinateRI.org.

After becoming the fifth state to reach 70% of adults fully vaccinated last week, Rhode Island is closing in on 60% of its entire population being fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the R.I. Department of Health.

On Tuesday, the Health Department reported 58 new positive cases since data was last released on Friday, while hospitalizations held steady at 20, with two patients in the intensive care unit and three on ventilators.

The state hasn’t reported a COVID-19-related death since June 19.

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