PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As 2021 gets underway, Rhode Island is vaccinating more of the population in Phase 1 of the state’s distribution plan.
As of Dec. 30, the last time the R.I. Department of Health (RIDOH) updated its COVID-19 Data Tracker, just over 17,020 had been vaccinated with their first of two doses. High-risk workers in hospitals were the first to be vaccinated earlier in December.
Over the weekend, Lifespan’s Dr. Christian Arbelaez was the first person in the state to receive the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
“This is one step closer for us to be able to be healthy so we can take care of the community and the patients that come into our hospitals,” Arbelaez said.
Nursing homes vaccinations started the week after Christmas, and RIDOH says it’s planning to administer initial doses of the vaccine at all nursing homes by mid-January.
Last week, clinics for other home health and hospice workers, EMS personnel, and first responders also got underway.
Two vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, are currently approved for emergency use in the United States, but a third be making its way into the country soon.
Monday morning, the United Kingdom inoculated the first patient in the world with Oxford and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
In her last COVID-19 weekly briefing of 2020, Gov. Gina Raimondo was hopeful for “the beginning of the end” to the pandemic.
“As we look to 2021, we are assured by all the manufacturers of the vaccine that they’re going to really start to crank up their manufacturing in January and in February and in March,” Raimondo said on Dec. 22.
As more vaccines are on the way, leaders in Central Falls are hoping to get their residents vaccinated as soon as possible. The city, one of the hardest hit by the virus, received a limited number of vaccine doses at the end of 2020.
Outgoing Mayor James Diossa and some Central Falls Housing Authority residents rolled up their sleeves.
“I think one of the hurdles is trying to convince those who are skeptic of getting the vaccine to get it because that’s the only way we’re gonna make Central Falls healthy again,” Diossa said on Dec. 30.
In the last COVID-19 data update of 2020, the state’s positive case rate was 7.6%, with cases per 100,000 declining throughout December.
Monday, the Department of Health is expected to release its first data since Dec. 30.
Gov. Gina Raimondo’s first briefing of 2021 is set for Thursday at 1 p.m.