RI House creates coronavirus vaccine distribution task force


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — Rhode Island House of Representatives Speaker nominee K. Joseph Shekarchi has put together a task force to help oversee the state’s implementation of coronavirus vaccine distribution.

The task force will ensure that vaccine distribution in the state is done in a timely manner following federal guidelines and that front-line workers, the health-compromised and the elderly are given access first.

“The stakes are very high here, and we need to do our absolute best with getting this vaccine to our population as quickly as possible,” Shekarchi said. “This is a time to come together, to work swiftly and carefully, and ensure that we vaccinate in a way that protects the most people and the most at-risk people as soon as we can.”

“Distribution of the vaccine will doubtlessly be complicated by the fact that it is coming out the midst of a surge that is already pushing the limits of our health care system and those incredibly dedicated professionals who work in it, as well as our communities,” he added.

The task force will be chaired by Rep. Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence). Other members of the task force are:

  • Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket)
  • Rep. Michael W. Chippendale (R-Dist. 40, Foster, Glocester, Coventry)
  • Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown)
  • Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls)
  • Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett)
  • Representative-elect Michelle E. McGaw (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton)
  • Rep. Mary Duffy Messier (D-Dist.62, Pawtucket)
  • Rep. Thomas E. Noret (D-Dist.25, Coventry, West Warwick)
  • Rep. David J. Place (R-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester)

The number of patients in Rhode Island’s hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surged to the highest level since early May. According to the Health Department, there were 323 hospitalizations as of midday Tuesday.

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