RI sees improvement in COVID-19 data as state reaches vaccine milestone


PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — The McKee administration is celebrating another COVID-19 vaccine milestone with more Rhode Islanders expected to become eligible in the coming weeks.

According to the R.I. Department of Health, 90% of adults in the state are now at least partially vaccinated, which is a goal previously set by Gov. Dan McKee.

In addition, health officials say more than 70% of Rhode Island’s population is fully vaccinated to date, moving Rhode Island to second in the nation behind Vermont.

The vaccination numbers are expected to grow as the FDA reviews whether to clear the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11.

“It will make it a lot safer for me to go outside and play all the sports that I play and have fun with my friends and family,” said Jarren Monroe, a participant in the Pfizer trial.

Pfizer says its vaccine is safe and effective for younger kids, who would receive a smaller dose than what’s given to adults.

On Monday, Moderna announced the same thing about its vaccine for the 6-11 age group.

Once the FDA and CDC give their approval, roughly 80,000 Rhode Island children would become eligible to get vaccinated. State officials said they’ve been preparing for that possibility by making sure pediatric practices are prepared to start distributing the vaccine. Children would also be able to get vaccinated at schools and community clinics with parental permission.

The Health Department provided new week-over-week data on Tuesday, which showed declines across the board: the weekly positivity rate dropped from 2.1% to 1.7%, there were 28 fewer hospital admissions (from 100 last week to 72 this week) and the rate of new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days was down to 125.

Two more Rhode Islanders died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 2,876.

The Health Department also reported 171 new infections and a daily positivity rate of 1.9%, while hospitalizations decreased to 95.

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