PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Eighteen of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns have at least partially vaccinated more than half of its eligible residents, according to the R.I. Department of Health.
The state started administering COVID-19 vaccines roughly four months ago on Dec. 14. As of Thursday, every city and town had at least partially vaccinated more than a third of its residents 16 years and older, and nearly half of all communities currently exceed 50%.
Leading the way is Block Island, formally known as New Shoreham, with 86% of its 743 eligible residents at least partially vaccinated. The top five also include East Greenwich, Jamestown, Barrington and North Kingstown.
The least vaccinated communities include Foster, Providence, Newport, Tiverton and finally Woonsocket, which ranks last in the state with 35% of its eligible population having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Despite ongoing efforts to prioritize certain communities, such as Pawtucket and Providence, where the coronavirus has hit hardest, many of the state’s most densely populated communities have fallen behind.
Even Central Falls, which was the first community to start receiving vaccines, has disappeared from the top 10 communities with the highest vaccination rates. As of Thursday, 52% of eligible residents in the state’s smallest city had received at least one shot, according to the Health Department.
Statewide, roughly half of Rhode Island’s 1 million residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. About a third of all Rhode Islanders have been fully vaccinated.
Rhode Island has administered about 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines per day during the past week, keeping up a relatively steady pace throughout April.
Following federal recommendations, the state has paused administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six reports of severe blood clots were discovered out of the nearly 7 million shots administered nationwide.
Despite the pause, health officials are optimistic the reduction of available vaccines will not slow down its growth trajectory. At its current pace, Rhode Island is on pace to hit 70% of its total population at least partially vaccinated by the end of May, according to a Target 12 analysis of state data.
On Monday, everyone between 16 and 39 years old are expected to become eligible for vaccines for the first time. Health officials estimate roughly 258,000 people within that age group are currently unvaccinated.
Tom McCarthy, executive director of the state’s COVID-19 response team, is optimistic such a large number of new people becoming eligible will help the state continue to grow its vaccination rate.
“Monday is going to be a big day on the journey to 70%,” McCarthy said Thursday.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly cited total population instead of eligible population.