Mass vaccination sites open to Rhode Islanders

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island’s two mass vaccination sites are now open for business. The Dunkin’ Donuts Center and the site on Sockanosset Cross Road in Cranston are now vaccinating people 75 and older.

On Thursday, 917 people are scheduled to get vaccinated at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center site and the R.I. National Guard says that number will only go up from here on out. In a test run, the National Guard says it took about 28 minutes for someone with limited mobility to get from the beginning to the end.

Marion Filippi from Lincoln was the first one in and the first one out.

“It was wonderful,” Filippi said. “They had certainly a lot of people to help you at every stage and very reassuring.”

She says for her, the process was simple. Unlike some others, she had no problem booking an appointment and was in and out within 20 minutes. With one shot left to go, she says she has a lot to look forward to.

“My neighbors, sitting and having coffee with them rather than waving across the street,” Filippi said. “For everybody, it’s been very stressful, kind of confining.”

Colonel Matthew Edwards with the R.I. National Guard says setting up the site took a lot of work.

“We’re ready to open the doors and start being a part of the solution; putting needles into arms and hopefully getting back to some sense of normalcy,” Colonel Edwards said.

When you enter the stadium, you’ll go to a check-in area where they make sure you have an appointment. Then, you’ll head to the vaccination pods. There are 14 total stations and that’s where you’ll get the shot.

After that, you’ll go to the observation area and sit for about 15 minutes to make sure there are no side affects. Volunteers from Johnson & Wales, URI, and RIC will help you schedule your next appointment.

“They are slowly going to be increasing the dose allocation to us until we get to that sweet spot,” Colonel Edwards said.

For those in wheelchairs or who have trouble walking, there is handicap parking and a ramp. For others, there is three hours of free parking in the North garage.

The Dunkin’ Donuts Center will administer Pfizer vaccines while the Cranston site administers Moderna. The Cranston site has the capability to give about 300 doses an hour.

Both clinics will close at 6:00 p.m., but opening and closing times may change in the coming days.

Categories: Coronavirus, Cranston, News, Providence, Rhode Island