NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island will soon receive an unexpected surplus of COVID-19 vaccine doses, which Gov. Dan McKee said is part of his plan to further expand the state’s distribution strategy.
McKee said Rhode Island could receive an additional 50,000 doses on top of what the state is already receiving from the federal government. He said those extra doses were reallocated to Rhode Island from other states that aren’t seeing as high of a demand for the shot.
With these additional doses, the state plans to begin “meeting people where they are” as opposed to having them seek out the vaccine themselves, according to McKee.
The state is currently offering to set up clinics at schools, businesses and nonprofit organizations who are willing to host them.
Electric Boat is one of the first businesses in Rhode Island to accept the offer, opening an employee vaccination clinic early Wednesday morning.
“The pick-and-shovel work has started,” McKee said. “That’s going to get us to the finish line.”
Electric Boat General Manager Sean Davies said the demand for vaccines among his employees is there, and hundreds of shots have already been administered.
“I think there’s a general interest in folks across the board,” he said.
Davies said Electric Boat typically offers a flu shot clinic to its employees annually, and anywhere between 70% and 80% of their company normally participates.
“I would imagine numbers would be somewhere similar to that,” he said of the COVID-19 vaccine clinic.
Several school districts have also expressed interest in offering clinics to eligible students, including Johnston, Cranston and North Kingstown.
Cranston High School East will begin providing vaccines to eligible students on Monday, Barrington will start administering shots on May 6, while North Kingstown and Johnston will offer first doses May 7.