Town Manager Andy Nota said Thursday some people who got the vaccine who shouldn’t have at the EG-based regional vaccine clinic at Swift Community Center that opened last week. The R.I. Dept. of Health reported cases of ineligible people getting the vaccine a few days ago. Nota did not have specific figures for the EG incidents.
These very first vaccine clinics have been for select health care workers, and municipal EMS and other first responders, all of whom have been sent links to sign up for a vaccine appointment. The only problem is, Nota said, the link is sharable. It turns out some who’ve gotten the link have shared it with family members or friends despite a warning not to share it. In a few cases, he said, the link was shared on social media.
And a link is all a person needs to make an appointment.
“The Department of Health set up the prioritization schedule,” Nota said. “As you can imagine, everyone wants to be in priority one.”
He acknowledged there was a lot of legitimate need for the vaccine and said he wished it was just a question of scheduling everyone. Right now, however, the supply is just not able to meet the demand. Rhode Island is getting around 14,000 doses a week right now.
Once officials realized what was happening, they tightened protocols at the vaccination clinic sites – East Greenwich is one of five regional vaccine sites.
Nota said on Tuesday they turned away between 10 and 20 people who’d scheduled an appointment after learning those people were not eligible. Nota said some of those who shouldn’t have registered did not realize they were doing anything wrong, but he acknowledged others were gaming the system.
Otherwise, Nota said he thought the clinics had been going well and he anticipated, based on conversations with state officials, that municipal clinics would continue to play a role in vaccine distribution.
It remains unclear when the bulk of the population will be able to get the vaccine. If you are wondering when you or a loved one will be able to get vaccinated, try contacting your primary care doctor. In the meantime, especially during the next couple of months, avoid crowds, wear a mask, and get tested regularly. For more information, click here.