Jamestown, Block Island rank first and last for statewide vaccination rates
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — More than 25% of Rhode Islanders have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but some communities are faring off better than others.
Jamestown is the first in the state to have more than half of their residents vaccinated with at least one shot.
“I’m pregnant; I got vaccinated at 35 weeks pregnant!” Jamestown resident Casandra West said. “So, hopefully the baby will have some antibodies too.”
West says while it wasn’t easy to get an appointment, she was persistent and scored a spot at the Middletown state-run site.
“With the vaccination rates going higher, it looks like we’ll have a safer and more normal summer,” West said.
The small beach community has a population of more than 4,500 residents. Almost 2,300 of them are vaccinated, beating numbers even in some larger communities.
However, on another beach just a boat ride away, the numbers fall on the opposite end of the list.
“We need more vaccinations,” Block Island resident Hope Roosa said. “It’s ridiculous that we don’t have equal access to vaccines.”
On Block Island, only 21% of residents have at least one shot. There are a number of things that could impact that data like age, gender, population, but many residents believe limited access is the main issue.
Roosa is immunocompromised with Chromes Disease, but she hasn’t been able to get the vaccine.
“Only people who are 60+ are eligible [on the island], ” Roosa said. “I would be able to get the vaccine on the mainland, but here, I am not eligible for it.”
Roosa says that because of limited supply. The Block Island Medical Center is using that supply to vaccinate people 60 and older, but don’t have enough to vaccinate those with underlying health conditions yet.
While traveling to the mainland takes time and money, Roosa says she’s even tried that.
“There’s nothing available,” Roosa said. “I’ve stayed up until midnight, I’ve woken up at 6am. So, I can’t even get it on the mainland or in my own community.”
As summer approaches, residents are hoping their numbers can turn around quickly.
As for some of Rhode Island’s bigger communities, East Greenwich falls right behind Jamestown, with 47% of their residents vaccinated with at least one dose. On the other end of the spectrum, Providence and Woonsocket remain low on the list with only 24%.
ABC 6 News did reach out to the Department of Health for comment. We are waiting to hear back.
To view the statewide statistics, click here: RI Department of Health COVID-19 Response (VACCINATION) (arcgis.com)