Nearly 13,000 vaccine doses given so far in Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE (AP) — Nearly 13,000 people have received an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far in Rhode Island, state health officials said Tuesday.
That number includes nearly 2,000 people who received the first dose Monday.
The state is prioritizing hospital workers, nursing home staff and residents, first responders, heath care workers, and older residents in the first phase of vaccine distribution, which is expected to continue through January and February.
While officials said they were pleased with the immunizations so far, they said they're keeping it flexible in order to adjust for changes in vaccine deliveries.
Rhode Island and many other states received fewer doses of the vaccine earlier this month than initially promised by the federal government.
VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS
The Rhode Island Department of Health on Tuesday reported nearly 1,100 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 18 more virus-related fatalities.
The new cases were out of more than 11,600 tests administered, for a daily positivity rate of about 9.4%.
The latest seven-day average positivity rate in Rhode Island is 5.88%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Rhode Island the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test encounters using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island is decreasing, going from 1,179 on Dec. 14 to more than 767 on Monday, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
The number of people in the hospital with the disease as of Sunday, the latest day for which the information is available, was 423, up slightly from the previous day, but down from the single-day high of 508 on Dec. 15.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the world-renowned expert on the coronavirus pandemic, said he is frustrated by the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines but sees better days ahead.
Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, in a series of tweets Monday blamed the federal government for neglecting to work with states on the final steps of getting vaccines to the people.
“Personally, I’m incredibly frustrated. Did we not know that vaccines were coming? Is vaccine administration a surprise?” he said.
The number of vaccine doses shipped to states has been lower than initially expected.
“There appears to be no investment or plan in the last mile,” Jha wrote. “No effort from Feds to help states launch a real vaccination infrastructure. Did the Feds not know vaccines were coming? Shouldn’t planning around vaccination sites, etc not have happened in October or November?”
A coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress and signed Sunday by President Donald Trump, which includes $69 billion for vaccine distribution, gave him hope.
“After a slow ramp-up, it’ll get better.”