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Hospital doc receives first COVID-19 vaccine in Rhode Island

December 15, 2020 GMT
A FedEx driver gives a thumbs up after delivering a box containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to pharmacists Richard Emery, right, and Karen Nolan as it arrives at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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A FedEx driver gives a thumbs up after delivering a box containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to pharmacists Richard Emery, right, and Karen Nolan as it arrives at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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A FedEx driver gives a thumbs up after delivering a box containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to pharmacists Richard Emery, right, and Karen Nolan as it arrives at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Providence hospital doctor became the first person in Rhode Island to receive a coronavirus vaccine on Monday.

Dr. Christian Arbelaez, a physician at Rhode Island Hospital, was the first in line for a shot of the vaccine developed by Pfizer.

He said he was “filled with adrenaline and happiness” and thankful for scientists who developed the medication.

“I’m excited for all of us to be able to return back to a normal life and see our loved ones,” Arbelaez told reporters.

Rhode Island Hospital was among a number of hospitals in the state that received shipments of the drug Monday, following emergency approval last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Lifespan, the hospital chain that oversees Rhode Island Hospital, said it received about 3,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for use in its facilities.

The organization said it would start administering it to those at highest risk, including providers and staff who have direct contact with coronavirus patients or infectious fluids or materials.

Lifespan said its goal is to vaccinate all employees over the next several months.

“After long months of battling this pandemic, we have powerful reasons for optimism that the end is in sight,” Timothy Babineau, Lifespan’s president and CEO, said in part.

Five hospitals in the state will each receive 1,000 doses of the vaccine over Monday and Tuesday: Kent Hospital, Newport Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, Women & Infants Hospital and The Miriam Hospital, according to the state Department of Health.

Two doses of the drug will be needed for someone to be fully immunized. The health department said the second doses will start arriving in the state in about three weeks.

Rhode Island expects to receive about 10,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine the first week it is available. If Moderna’s vaccine receives emergency use authorization from the FDA, the state expects to receive about 19,000 doses the first week it is available.

Vaccines will arrive in the state in weekly allotments over the coming months.

A look at other virus-related developments in the state:

VIRUS CASES

Rhode Island health officials on Monday reported 46 additional COVID-19 deaths and more than 3,000 cases of COVID-19 over the last three days.

The state Department of Health also reported there were more than 400 people hospitalized with the virus as of Saturday, the most recent data available.

Rhode Island has recorded 1,555 deaths and more than 74,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started.

The state’s seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate has risen over the past two weeks, from 7% on Nov. 29 to nearly 8% on Dec. 13.

Rhode Island’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has remained at about 850 over the past two weeks.