PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ With the rise of the delta variant, state leaders are urging students ages 12 and older and their families to get vaccinated ahead of the school year.

Gov. Dan McKee, the R.I. Departments of Health and Education and other community partners have coordinated more than 100 back-to-school vaccine clinics between early August and mid-September.

“If you haven’t gotten your COVID-19 vaccine yet, or are just turning 12 and are becoming eligible, please get vaccinated – it is time,” McKee said.

“Teams throughout the state have worked in lock-step to make sure that every student and their family in every school district has easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” he continued. “We encourage all eligible Rhode Islanders to make the healthy choice and get vaccinated before school starts.”

R.I. Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said as case rates continue to rise statewide, residents should be getting vaccinated if they haven’t already.

“Getting vaccinated and making sure that the eligible children, young adults and adults in your life are vaccinated too is the single best thing you can do right now to protect yourself and your family from the delta variant, the more contagious strain of COVID-19,” she said.

R.I. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green said that every student and staff member getting vaccinated is key for a successful return to full in-person learning.

“With the start of the school year just weeks away, we are taking swift action in partnership with RIDOH and our local school leaders to make it easier for everyone to get fully vaccinated,” Infante-Green said. “It is time – we ask that all who are eligible take advantage of the many vaccination clinics we’ll be offering in the coming weeks.”

Right now, the two-shot Pfizer vaccine is the only one currently authorized for children ages 12 and older. The Pfizer vaccine, in addition to other options, will be available at clinics listed online.