CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — As states rush to get people vaccinated for COVID-19, they not only need to have an adequate supply of doses, but also the staffing and locations to safely administer them.
Since late November, the former Citizens Bank building in Cranston has been used as a field hospital for patients recovering from COVID-19. Now, it’s doubling as a mass vaccination facility being operated by the Rhode Island National Guard and Department of Health.
“So far, we’ve vaccinated just under 700 and our intent is to vaccinate the entire force over time as we get allocated vaccines,” R.I. Medical Detachment HHC Commander Captain Amanda Ramirez said.
The site will be used not only to vaccinate National Guard members, but also members of the public who are eligible to receive a shot during Phase I of the state’s distribution plan.
“After they’ve seen the medical provider, they’ll get the vaccine administered to them and then they’ll proceed to the observation center,” Ramirez explained.
An appointment for a patient’s second dose will have already been made when they receive the first shot, according to Ramirez.
Tech Sergeant Deirdre Salvas said getting the COVID-19 vaccine was easier than getting a flu shot, but that may have been due to it meaning so much to her.
“I feel excited. The decision to get vaccinated is a personal one for me,” she said. “Over the holidays, I unfortunately lost a family member and a family friend who had COVID, so I at that point wanted to be part of the solution and part of getting back to normal.”
The Cranston site is currently being used only for those with vaccine appointments through their employer.