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Gov: Supply still a problem for state vaccination efforts

January 6, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s coronavirus vaccination efforts are being hampered by a lack of supply, Gov. Gina Raimondo said.

Nearly 28,000 people in the state have received their first dose of a vaccine and almost 650 people have received their second dose, according to state Department of Health figures released Wednesday.

But the state is currently receiving only 14,000 doses per week.

“Other states are in the same boat,” the Democratic governor wrote in an email to residents late Tuesday. “Still, we’re making good progress. The increase in supply over time as manufacturers ramp up and more vaccines are approved gives us confidence that we’ll be able to put COVID-19 behind us over the next few months.”

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Rhode Island is among the best-performing states in administering doses as a percentage of the population, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers. Still, it had vaccinated less than 3% of its population as of Tuesday afternoon.

In the meantime, residents should continue following public health guidelines, including mask wearing and social distancing, Raimondo said.

“If we all keep working together and following the rules, we can guarantee a much better year in 2021,” she wrote.

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VACCINE LINE CUTTERS

State health officials said Tuesday that several hundred people not currently eligible to be vaccinated attempted to get vaccinations with the help of eligible people who improperly shared their confidential appointment registration links.

Health officials said the link given to employers for their workers to register for vaccinations was shared. The employers were not identified.

The state took down registration links and canceled hundreds of appointments this week after discovering the problem.

The issue is being addressed, said Alysia Mihalakos, co-lead of the state Health Department’s Mass Vaccination Workgroup.

“The demand for the vaccine is clearly high and people are willing to push others aside to get themselves and their loved ones vaccinated,” Mihalakos said during a remote news conference. “

The state has prioritized getting the vaccine to those at highest risk from the virus.

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NEGATIVE TRENDS

Rhode Island’s Department of Health reported nearly 1,600 new positive cases of the coronavirus and 20 more virus-related deaths on Wednesday.

The latest seven-day average positivity rate in Rhode Island has now climbed to almost 7.2%. 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 also on the rise, going from 850 on Dec. 22 to 1,009 on Tuesday, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The state has now had nearly 95,500 positive cases and 1,890 fatalities.

The number of people in the hospital with the disease has fallen to 405 as of Monday, the latest day for which the information is available, down from 418 the previous day and more than 500 just before Christmas.