PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As the state continues its rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, R.I. Department of Health Medical Director Dr. James McDonald tells 12 News he’s worried about an upcoming unofficial national holiday.
“I’m not talking about Ground Hog Day, it’s the Super Bowl,” McDonald said during his weekly interview on 12 News Now at 4.
Super Bowl Sunday this year is on Feb. 7, and McDonald is urging Rhode Islanders not to organize or attend large parties.
“For your Super Bowl plans, I don’t want to see large pizzas being ordered,” McDonald said. “If you can please keep your Super Bowl parties small and limit those gatherings with folks outside of your household, you’ll help us stay on the right path.”
The state’s case numbers and hospitalizations continue to trend downward, which McDonald hopes will continue. He said the surge that was expected following the holidays was “very small” compared to the rest of the country.
“I think we are heading in a different direction right now and I hope we keep that momentum,” he said.
When asked about why the state isn’t following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation to offer the vaccine to residents who are ages 65 and older, McDonald was candid in his response.
“We would love to vaccinate everybody over 65, everyone is important to us in Rhode Island,” McDonald said. “We simply just don’t have the vaccine.”
He said the state is working to vaccinate as many high-risk populations as they can with the allotment they have.
For those still waiting to receive their first dose, McDonald offered a piece of advice.
“Demand for the vaccine is really high, so for your own mental health, I wouldn’t focus on what you can’t get right now and be upset that you’re not getting the vaccine,” he said.
Instead, he said, be thankful that a vaccine is here, effective and will eventually be available to everyone.
“I think that thankful mindset is going to be overall better for your mental wellbeing,” he said. “We’re going to all get it guys, there’s going to be plenty eventually, so just hang on and we’ll be OK.”