East Provence, Rhode Island (WPRI)-Health officials in Rhode Island and Massachusetts are already preparing the federally approved COVID-19 vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has required states to submit their vaccine distribution plans by November 1.
Joseph Wendelken, spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Health, said the department has been researching the program for several months. The 51-page draft released on Friday explains who will get the vaccine first and how and where to manage it.
“We do envision a community place where people can get vaccinated. Usually, all we have to do is to be as convenient and accessible as possible.”
According to the plan, the vaccine will be launched in stages to select the population. High-risk medical staff and first responders will be the first. Then over time, the next group of people will include people with severe health conditions, K-12 teachers, and key workers in high-risk environments.
The final stage of distribution will give priority to young people, children and workers in industries that are vital to society.
“There are many unknowns at the moment. We don’t know when to get the vaccine or how many vaccines we want to get. Some people talk about the need for two doses instead of one for some vaccines. Wendelken said: “Because of many unexpected circumstances, we have prepare. “
Massachusetts announced its initial vaccine distribution plan on Saturday. According to the plan, they expect to receive 26,000 doses of vaccine in the first phase.
Read the complete Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccination plan (interim draft) >>
Similar to Rhode Island, New York State will prioritize health care workers and people deemed high-risk. The second phase will include people of color and low-income communities with higher incomes.
In the final stage, when there are enough vaccines available, health officials said they plan to get everyone vaccinated quickly and free of charge.
Wendelken told 12 News that there are many unknowns at present. He hopes that Rhode Island’s plan will continue to develop and the health department is ready to respond to changes.