COVID-19 Vaccines Set to Arrive in RI on Monday and Tuesday

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Justin Tallis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Paula Zhuang

After approval from the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the COVID-19 vaccines are set to arrive in RI sooner rather than later—starting Monday and Tuesday, as stated by the RI Department of Health on Sunday.

These new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations will not be administered by the state but rather community institutions such as hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices, at no cost to the individual. Frontline medical workers and at-risk populations will be the first to receive their doses, in Phase One of the state’s plan. Most high school students will be vaccinated in Phase Three, currently estimated to run from April to June of 2021. The phases are summarized in the infographic below.

Specialist: Vaccine will hopefully be available to all Rhode Islanders by next summer |
State-released infographic showing Rhode Island’s four-phase COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.

Dr. James McDonald, medical director for the state Department of Health, is hopeful that these vaccines will provide long-lasting immunity. Depending on the number of people that choose to receive it, McDonald estimates that the state could have a high enough vaccination rate by early May to begin lifting restrictions, returning life to some semblance of normalcy.

Keeping this goal in mind, health leaders urge Rhode Islanders to limit their upcoming holiday celebrations to a small group of people.

This news comes soon after Governor Raimondo’s extension of the statewide “two-week pause,” and North Providence School District’s decision to move to a full distance-learning model for all schools from December 21 to January 8.