Providence expands vaccine eligibility to 50+ in hard-hit neighborhoods

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The city of Providence is expanding eligibility to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at its clinics to residents 50 and older who live in the 02907, 02908 and 02909 ZIP codes.

Eligibility remains at 65 and older for other parts of the city. The clinics are run by the Providence Emergency Management Agency, and appointments are required.

The expansion of eligibility is part of a continuing effort by the R.I. Department of Health to vaccinate high-density communities that have had the highest rate of infection and hospitalizations in Rhode Island.

Central Falls, the hardest-hit community in the state, was the first to have expanded eligibility. The city has been vaccinating adults 18 and older for weeks.

State-run sites, including those located in Providence, are currently vaccinating adults 65 and older.

“The city is working closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health and community partners to reach residents in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” Mayor Jorge Elorza said in a statement. “Providence is making every effort to administer vaccines equitably and efficiently and this next step allows us to more directly reach our most vulnerable residents as quickly as possible.”

Elorza and Council President Sabina Matos were among those who signed on to a letter asking the state to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults in those ZIP codes, which include neighborhoods such as Olneyville, Manton, West End and Elmhurst.

Separately from the 1,190 doses of Moderna being sent to the city-run clinics, several other local health centers in Providence are also being provided with vaccine, including Clínica Esperanza on Valley Street which has expanded eligibility to even younger adults.

The free clinic that primarily serves uninsured and immigrant communities posted online over the weekend that a pop-up clinic would be open for adults over 18 who live in the 02907, 02908 and 02909 ZIP codes. But later clarified that younger adults should only sign up if they are bringing an older relative to their appointment.

“If you have insurance, and you have a computer and a car, you will be able to get a vaccine at the Dunk or elsewhere,” the clinic wrote on Facebook. “Our patients will not. This is not about equality, it is about equity.”

The clinic is getting about 1,000 doses a week, according to the Department of Health.

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