PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While the Rhode Island Department of Health believes the state’s targeted approach to vaccine distribution is working, many Rhode Islanders aren’t satisfied with the rollout, according to a survey by 12 News.
12 News surveyed 113 Rhode Islanders earlier this month. The survey, conducted by RAM (Research and Analysis of Media), revealed 80% felt up to date on vaccine developments, but only a small fraction said they felt positive about the way the state is handling distribution.
Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said since the start of the vaccine rollout, there’s been a significant decline in cases among the state’s health care workers and nursing home residents.
“Who we vaccinate matters,” she said.
But only 16% of the viewers 12 News surveyed said they thought positively of the state’s vaccine rollout.
“Get the State of RI out of the way and let a private company handle it. State can’t get out of its own way. It’s a joke,” one viewer wrote.
“I wish it would be a fair distribution within the state, not who you know,” another said.
The R.I. Department of Health will soon be expanding registration opportunities for residents ages 75 and older, adding that right now, the demand is outpacing the supply.
When it comes to getting vaccinated, three-quarters of those who responded to the survey said they would receive the shot as soon as they possibly could.
“I would like to be able to protect my loved ones,” one viewer said.
Another viewer said they’d get the shot, “because the sooner we get vaccinated the sooner we can return to some sense of normalcy.”
Those who said they wanted to delay getting immunized or forego receiving the vaccine altogether had a variety of reasons for doing so.
“Older people need it before me,” one viewer wrote. Another said they did not want the vaccine because they don’t trust the government. Others said they felt the vaccine needed to be studied further and expressed concern about potential long-term side effects.
Dr. James McDonald, a medical director with the R.I. Department of Health, said anyone who’s on the fence about receiving the vaccine should share their concerns with their health providers.
“Talk to your doctor about it and ask them what they’re doing,” he said. “I can tell you what your doctor is doing: your doctor is getting the vaccine.”
So when will significantly more vaccine be available? McDonald said the Johnson & Johnson and Novavax vaccines are currently in development, meaning there could be four types of vaccine available in Rhode Island by the spring.