Cranston Mayor frustrated state’s slow roll-out: “Give us the vaccines, we’ll get it done”

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – For 550 residents in Cranston, the wait for vaccines was finally over Tuesday. Cranston is the latest city to open a vaccination clinic for seniors 75 and over.

“I’m really excited,” Elaine Palumbo said. “I have been waiting and waiting until we could come and get this vaccine. I’m so tired of being in the house.”

Palumbo is one of the lucky seniors who got vaccinated at the Cranston Senior Center. The clinic is now open Tuesday’s and Thursday’s to residents with an appointment beginning with the oldest to younger residents in the 75+ age group.

That news is a sigh of relief to many who have struggled during the pandemic.

“In all my 90 years, I’ve never experienced anything this bad,” Catherine Gergora said. “I’m just praying they’ll get a good handle on it and hopefully not many more will pass.”

Mayor Kenneth Hopkins says while it’s a step in the right direction, they need more vaccines and they need them fast. He says it’s been a journey to get this site up and running and he’s not happy with how the state handled it.

“In the beginning they dropped it on our lap and said here’s 300-and something vaccines, get it done,” Mayor Hopkins said. “Everyone was like okay… the phone calls were coming in; we created a quick website while I was manning the phone with my staff.”

Cranston along with several other cities worked quickly creating vaccination clinics, but now that it’s up and running, Mayor Hopkins says they don’t have the supply they need. He says there are thousands of seniors who are eligible in the city, but with this clinic, they’ll only be able to vaccinate a little less than 3,000 residents.

“We’re probably going to be doing over 40,000 before we’re done, but we’re ready for it,” Mayor Hopkins said. “Just give us the vaccines. We can move this over to the bubble at the ice rink and set up a major vaccination place there. If they give us the vaccines we’ll get it done.”

While those in line mark the beginning to the end, there’s still a long road ahead.

“I hope it keeps going on,” Palumbo said. “I hope everyone gets it including my children and my grandchildren.”

The clinic in Cranston will run every Tuesday and Thursday for four weeks for the first dose and four weeks for the second dose. It’ll end on April 8th.

The City is also looking for volunteers to help at the clinics from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00p.m.

Volunteering for the vaccination site is flexible, whether it’s one time or on an ongoing basis. Volunteers are not necessarily required to have previous training and anyone can volunteer. The City is seeking Doctors, Nurses, EMTs and other qualified volunteers to help administer the vaccine. The City is also seeking volunteers to make calls to qualified recipients of the vaccine and help facilitate the vaccination site.

Anyone interested may sign up to volunteer at www.cranstonri.gov/covid-19-vaccine-information or by calling the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center at (401) 780-6000.

Categories: Coronavirus, Cranston, News, Rhode Island