To the Editor: The State of Rhode Island should look to cities and towns like Warwick for guidance around how to create and execute an effective plan to get our seniors vaccinated against COVID-19. Cities and towns have stepped up to fill the gap created
To the Editor:
The State of Rhode Island should look to cities and towns like Warwick for guidance around how to create and execute an effective plan to get our seniors vaccinated against COVID-19. Cities and towns have stepped up to fill the gap created by the lack of strategic planning by the state. The fact that the state does not have one statewide registry is a failure of leadership.
Each day city and town leaders receive calls from seniors and their families looking for help signing up for vaccination appointments. In Warwick, we have heard from some citizens in their mid to late 80s who say they have called their doctors, the Department of Health, local pharmacies, all before reaching out to their elected officials.
When residents 75 years and older reach out to city leaders in Warwick, we sign them up for the city’s vaccine waitlist for seniors. Soon after, members of the Warwick fire department or volunteers call them to schedule an appointment.
While the system in Warwick has been helpful to many of our residents, despite our best efforts, some seniors are unable to advocate for themselves, or they are unaware of the avenues available to make an appointment. Meanwhile, the state’s so called “targeted and strategic” plan has been ranked last in the nation by multiple sources rating state-level vaccine distribution rollouts.
Cities and towns across the state are doing an outstanding job executing their own community plans to get our most venerable residents vaccinated. However, we need better support from the state level. State leaders should look to the cities and towns who have developed systems to get these vaccines to our seniors quickly and efficiently. We need one state-level registry with a website and phone number Rhode Islanders can use to schedule an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Thank you to the Warwick Fire department, EMS officials, city employees, and volunteers who have all come together to address this issue. Warwick residents over 75 can sign up for the wait list to get a vaccination appointment at warwickri.gov/vaccine. All residents should also sign up for the city’s notification and community alerts system, “Code Red.” The “Code Red” community notification enrollment page can also be found on the city’s website.
Stay positive and test negative!
Warwick City Council President