PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island has reached President Joe Biden’s goal of getting 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4.
Nearly 75% of Rhode Islanders 18 and older have received at least one shot and more than 65% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the R.I. Department of Health.
Health officials announced the milestone during a COVID-19 vaccine subcommittee meeting on Tuesday. They said although they surpassed the goal, they will not be slowing down vaccination efforts.
The latest data shows three more Rhode Islanders have died after contracting COVID-19, according to the Health Department, bringing the death toll to 2,722.
Health officials also said 44 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, with five patients in the intensive care unit and five on ventilators.
In addition, 35 new coronavirus cases and more than 6,700 tests conducted the previous day, so the percent positivity came out to 0.5%.
Dr. Philip Chan, a consultant medical director for the R.I. Department of Health, said this is partially because many people are no longer required undergo mandatory testing.
“For example, colleges and universities, who are no longer in session, were testing up to 40,000 [people] a week, so there’s a couple different reasons why we’re seeing less testing,” Chan explained.
Chan believes less people are choosing to get tested because they’re either fully or partially vaccinated. Right now, 74% of all Rhode Island adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“I think all the trends point to the fact that cases in general are down,” Chan said. “The majority of the people we’re seeing cases in are unvaccinated.”
While the R.I. Department of Health has also relaxed testing requirements for fully vaccinated Rhode Islanders, Chan said they are seeing some immunized residents testing positive for the virus.
“One reason is because the vaccine is not 100% effective,” Chan explained. “The second reason for that is that people may be immunocompromised, and this again is one of the active areas of research in our understanding that we don’t know all the answers yet.”
Chan said he’s not concerned that the rate of vaccinations has slowed, adding that the state is still far ahead of the original projected vaccination timeline.