EAST PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – Health officials in Rhode Island and Massachusetts are already preparing if and when a COVID-19 vaccine is federally approved.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asked states to submit their vaccine distribution plans by November 1st.
Rhode Island Department of Health spokesman Joseph Wendelken says the department has been working on this plan for several months. The 51-page draft released Friday explains who would get the vaccine first and how and where it would be administered.
“We envision having site-based sites where people would go and get vaccinated. Usually, what we do is try to make it as practical and accessible as possible, ”said Wendelken.
According to the plan, the vaccine would be rolled out in phases to select populations. High-risk health workers and first responders would be the first on the list. Then, over time, the next group will include people with serious health conditions, K-1
The final phase of distribution prioritises young adults, children, and workers in industries that are critical to society.
“There are just so many unknowns at this time. We do not know when to get the vaccine, we do not know how much vaccine to get, there is talk of certain vaccines requiring two doses instead of one. There are just a number of contingencies, which is why we try to prepare for all scenarios, ”said Wendelken.
Massachusetts unveiled its original vaccine distribution plan Saturday. According to the plan, they expect to receive between twenty and sixty thousand doses of the phase 1 vaccine.
Read the full vaccination plan for Massachusetts COVID-19 (preliminary draft) >>
Like Rhode Island, the state will prioritize health professionals and people considered high-risk. Phase two will include people of color and lower-income communities who have seen higher rates of the virus.
In the final phase, when there is plenty of the vaccine available, health officials said they plan to get everyone vaccinated quickly and for free.
Wendelken tells 12 news, with so many unknowns right now, he expects Rhode Island’s plan will continue to evolve and that the health department is prepared for change.