NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s least populous community has the highest rate of those partially and fully vaccinated in the state.
According to the latest vaccine data from the R.I. Department of Health, roughly 78% of New Shoreham residents are at least partially vaccinated, with about 56% fully vaccinated.
New Shoreham Town Manager Maryanne Crawford says she attributes the high rates to a few things, starting with the hard work of the island’s medical and emergency management leaders when municipalities were first in charge of the vaccine rollout.
“That team reached out personally, made phone calls to everyone 65 and older, and they vaccinated all those folks,” Crawford told 12 News.
Crawford also says other priority populations, like teachers or first responders, live on the island full-time.
“So in other communities, they could be spread out to other communities throughout the state. But we’re all here on the island,” she said.
According to 2018 Census data, an estimated 743 people live on the island, though Crawford believes there are more full-time residents now. “Maybe 150 to 200 more,” she said.
The Health Department’s vaccine data for cities and towns indicates population estimates and calculations based on them include all individuals aged 15 and above. Out-of-state residents are excluded from municipal data.
Crawford says if she would guess that the island’s uptake rate is high “because of the constant encouragement with the medical team here advising folks to get the vaccination and get whatever vaccination is available to them.”
Crawford says vaccine clinics are only being held with limited doses once a week, but New Shoreham continues to ask the state to provide vaccines to Block Island.
“We don’t have the Wal-Marts, we don’t have the CVS’s on the island,” Crawford said. “So they — being the state — are coming out here every Thursday to vaccinate folks.”
Crawford says residents are “by all means” encouraged to get vaccinated off the island if they have the opportunity to get a vaccine.
According to last week’s COVID-19 case rates by community, which is updated every Wednesday, New Shoreham has had 49 positive cases total.