EAST PROVIDENCE — East Providence has been charged to be one of three newly created regional COVID-19 vaccination pods, which will serve residents of most East Bay communities over the next few …
EAST PROVIDENCE — East Providence has been charged to be one of three newly created regional COVID-19 vaccination pods, which will serve residents of most East Bay communities over the next few months.
The announcement was made by Governor Dan McKee during an event Wednesday, April 7, at the city’s Senior Center, 610 Waterman Avenue, the location of the regional hub.
The governor was joined by representative of the municipalities the pod will service: East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, Bristol Town Administrator Steven Contente, Tiverton Town Administrator Christopher Cotta, Barrington Town Manager James Cunha and Warren Town Manager Kate Michaud.
Operations of the site will be overseen in city by the East Providence Fire Department, Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director/Emergency Services Director Captain John Potvin and Chief Glenn Quick.
“Municipal leaders are going to play a major role not only in getting people shots in the arms, but they’re also going to play a major role in our reopening strategy. And the more vaccinations we get into people’s arms, the quicker the reopening is going to happen,” said Gov. McKee.
The site will be operational every Wednesday and Friday through at least June, according to the governor, and run collaboratively by the participating municipalities.
VIDEO: Listen to the governor talk about the new vaccination pod.
The regional pods, Gov. McKee said, mean for residents the vaccination dosages are “closer to where they leave, more convenient and also the supply is going to increase. We don’t want to build capacity after the supply is in the state. That means there will be too many dosages on the shelves. We want the capacity to exceed the supply so when the supply comes in we can get those shots out.”
Appointments will be set up by the state, through the Rhode Island Department of Health portal, www.vaccinateRI.org. The number of available vaccinations each day will be announced at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning and 5 p.m. on Thursday evenings.
The vaccinations dispensed in the short-term at least will be the two-dose Pfizer on Wednesdays, with the single-shot Johnson & Johnson on Fridays.
Said Capt. Potvin, “I’m pleased to say as much as (RIDOH) can give us we’re prepared to deliver it.”
East Providence has been serving in a similar capacity since the vaccinations became available late last year. To date, city personnel have administered approximately 12,000 coronavirus inoculations.
Wednesday, the city was dubbed a regional pod along with Westerly and North Providence, bringing the total number of vaccination sites under the auspices of the state to eight.
Each of the three each regional pods has been tasked with administering 1,200 vaccinations a week each Wednesday and Friday through June at least, Capt. Potvin added.
East Providence, Barrington, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton and Pawtucket will pool their resources, which includes allotments of the vaccine. The pods will be staffed by personnel from each of the municipalities, each also sharing the use of necessary equipment and supplies to achieve the weekly aim of doses.
Gov. McKee said the 1,200-dose target is based on supply the state is currently receiving from the federal government. He said he urged the administration of President Joseph Biden during a phone call the previous day to provide the state with as much vaccines as it could.
“We made it very clear the State of Rhode Island is in a position to adminster far more, and so if there is available supply we want to make sure we are receiving them,” the governor added. “We don’t want to see any dosages on the shelves. We want to see them in people’s arms.”