Regional vaccination pods opening this week in East Providence, Johnston, Westerly

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Governor Dan McKee toured two of the three new regional pods on Wednesday, first stopping at the location in Westerly and then the location in East Providence at the city’s senior center.

“Municipal leaders are gonna play a major role, not only in getting people vaccinated and getting shots in the arms, but its gonna play a major role in our reopening strategy,” said McKee.

The vaccine pod (point of dispensing) at the East Providence Senior Center administered 600 doses of vaccine on the first day, with appointments for day one booked within hours, according to a city leader.

“Right now, 97% of Rhode Islanders have access to a vaccine site within 15 minutes of a local drive. Sites like we’re gonna open here in East Providence, servicing multiple communities, is gonna really just add to that accessibility,” said McKee.

The regional pods will administer 1,200 doses a week, and that number could increase depending on how much supply the state receives.

McKee said the state is currently administering around 70,000 doses of vaccine a week but has the capacity to administer 160,000 doses a week.

The East Providence pod is a collaboration between the communities of East Providence, Pawtucket, Barrington, Warren, Bristol and Tiverton.

“We refer to this as a regional pod, (but) it’s a regional pod because this region, these municipalities are all contributing to the success of this pod. But the reality is, anyone from throughout Rhode Island can come here,” said East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva.

DaSilva said the site may eventually move to a larger space if the demand is high at this pod.

“We’ll be moving eventually from this location to the Shaw’s plaza across from the high school. There’s a 30,000 square foot space that we’re contracted with them, and it’ll be a much bigger operation. So if the need arises that we need to expand, we will certainly be able to expand.”

Appointments for the regional pods can be found by dialing 211. East Providence has its own vaccine hotline at 401-533-9812.

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Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island