41% of RI teens aged 16 to 18 have gotten first dose; State to bring vaccines to state parks, beaches

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – As children aged 12 to 15 became eligible for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine this week, Rhode Island is ramping up vaccinations for that age group.

During Thursday’s weekly COVID briefing, Tom McCarthy, executive director of the state’s COVID response, shared that the state has administered first doses to 41% of 16 to 18-year-olds.

“Prior to the authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to 12 to 15-year-olds, 59 clinics were scheduled in 45 schools to serve the 16 to 18-year-old population. Now that we have 12 to 15-year-olds approved for Pfizer, additional clinics are being planned for this pediatric population,” McCarthy said.

Those aged 12 to 15 can now walk up to the state-run vaccination sites in Providence, Cranston and Middletown to get the Pfizer vaccine.

McCarthy said the state has vaccinated 95 Rhode Islanders aged 75 and older who were previously unvaccinated, bringing the vaccine right to their homes.

Now the state will focus on bringing vaccines to people’s workplaces and places people frequent over the spring and summer months.

“We’re partnering with businesses to have worksite clinics, we’re going to be in state parks at beaches this spring in throughout the summer,” McCarthy said. “We are going to be where Rhode Islanders are over the next few weeks and the next few months until every eligible Rhode Islander has had every opportunity to get their shot.’

The health department will also set up vaccination clinics at transportation hubs like T.F. Green Airport.

“We’re all going to have a great summer, that has been our goal. But to make that happen we need everyone to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, head of the health department.

Because the vaccination rate among teens is rising, the state is allowing sports tournaments including out-of-state teams to resume on Monday.

Also on Monday, people will no longer need to be a resident of Rhode Island to get a shot in the Ocean State.

“We know that we’re a tourist destination, we know communities that are particularly bordering on our oceanfront are going to have many people come,” said Governor Dan McKee.

McKee also announced that nightclubs will be able to fully open at the end of the month, as long as they’re only allowing fully vaccinated people inside.

“We’re announcing today that nightclub owners if they want to make vaccination a criteria to attend their nightclubs, 100%, we’ll be opening up the nightclubs 100% on that basis. If not, we’ll be at 50% on May 28th,” McKee said.

Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said people may need to show their vaccination cards to enter a nightclub.

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Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island