Vaccine distribution continues, with some concerns ahead

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — History was made as the first vaccine doses were administered to health workers this week, but some families are wondering how soon it will help others at risk.

COVID is a concern for Ken Richards of Warwick, who has an elderly mother.

“I have people around me that are getting tested for COVID, so I’m a little afraid that I might pass something along to her,” he said.

Richards wants to know how soon the elderly and people in nursing homes will get the vaccine.

“It’s very important that these folks in the nursing homes – something needs to be done,” he said. “And I hope that these vaccines get pumped into nursing homes as quick as possible.”

Dr. Philip Chan of the health department says 1226 frontline health workers have already gotten their first dose as of Friday morning. He acknowledged that the next shipment of Pfizer vaccine is several thousand doses smaller than what was anticipated.

“Obviously somewhat disappointing,” he said. “We’re not sure of the exact reason for this.”

Dr. Chan did note that the FDA has endorsed squeezing extra doses out of the existing vaccine vials.

Still, the state is forging ahead with its plan to vaccinate nursing homes, starting Dec. 28.

“Rhode Island is going to take a few more days to get up to speed to be able to be able to vaccinate our populations,” Dr. Chan said. “But the good news is residents and nursing homes should get all their first doses within three weeks of us starting. That’s exciting. Mid-January, which is right around the corner.”

But Richards is worried that might not be soon enough.

“It’s just too late,” he said. “These people in these nursing homes need to see their family.”

In the mean time, Richards says he plans to follow the governor’s guidance to limit gatherings to the people you live with this holiday.

“Basically some phone calls and touching base, but I think I’m going to keep it quiet this Christmas,” he said.

Governor Raimondo adds that she thinks more people will follow that guidance for Christmas than they did for Thanksgiving, and she says she is hopeful that people will find ways to celebrate a little differently this year.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island