McKee urges fully vaccinated Rhode Islanders to get COVID boosters before Thanksgiving


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee is encouraging all fully-vaccinated Rhode Islanders, especially those who plan to gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, to get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as possible.

The Rhode Island Department of Health expanded eligibility for booster shots to all Rhode Islanders ages 18 to 64 earlier this week, citing an increase in transmission.

“Get your third dose as soon as possible,” McKee said. “A shot today can help our community members protect each other as we head indoors for the colder months.”

“A short appointment can save lives and prevent empty seats around the table this holiday season,” he continued.

This comes the same day booster shot eligibility was officially expanded to all fully vaccinated Americans ages 18 and older, regardless of their risk for exposure. Rhode Island was one of a dozen states to do so beforehand.

More than 105,000 booster doses have been administered in the state so far, mostly at pharmacies and to people ages 65 and older, according to McKee.

“Booster doses are a critical tool in our fight to limit serious illness from COVID-19, and to limit transmission of COVID-19,” R.I. Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said. “When you get a booster dose, you start to build some additional immunity almost right away.”

“Everyone who is 18 and older, who is already fully vaccinated, and who plans to see family and friends on Thanksgiving should get a booster dose as soon as possible to help protect themselves and the people they love,” she continued.

Fully vaccinated people become eligible for booster shots at least six months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer of Moderna vaccine, or at least two months after receiving a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

There’s ample amount of vaccine supply in Rhode Island, according to the R.I. Department of Health, and booster appointments can be made at the same locations where first and second vaccine doses are available.

On Friday, the R.I. Department of Health reported 546 new positive cases, which is the most in a single day since April 6. The daily positivity rate came out to 3.6%, with more than 15,000 tests administered the previous day.

Three more Rhode Islanders died after contracting COVID-19, the Health Department said, while hospitalizations climbed to 113, with 20 patients in the intensive care unit and 13 on ventilators.

Friday’s data also showed the state has a rate of 292 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, which is the highest it’s been since April 12. That rate, which is used to track community transmission of the virus, has increased sharply in recent days.

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