Dear Charlestown Residents,
On January 26, 2021, the RI Department of Health announced that a small allotment of vaccines would be available to RI seniors age 75 and older. This extra allotment came from existing supply that the RIDOH had pulled back from one of their partners in an attempt to get the vaccine in people's arms faster.
The Town has been working on a future plan for vaccinations. However, on January 26, we only had a small window of time to tell the RIDOH if we would participate in the vaccinations which were scheduled for January 31, 2021. Charlestown wanted to take whatever doses were offered to us. If we said "no" to the extra allotment, then no Charlestown seniors would have received the vaccine on January 31, 2021.
The Charlestown Emergency Management Director, the Town Administrator and the local MEDS Director who were already meeting to develop a long term plan, quickly pivoted to a short term plan to implement for January 31. They decided the most objective way to select the recipients was to include those already pre-identified on the Special Needs Registry and then to start with the oldest resident in Town and work down the list by age. New additions to the Special Needs Registry are not being used and the town has switched to the more general population using the voter list and individual submissions (see email instructions below). The voter list was used as the source for identifying the oldest to the youngest. The list only included ages 75 and above.
On January 27, 2021, the Town was notified that we would receive 38 doses of the vaccine. All the available vaccination slots were filled. The intent is to continue this list when more vaccines for those 75 and older become available. The vaccination point on January 31 was in South Kingstown, as that is the regional location used by our Town.
If you live in Charlestown, are 75 years of age or older, not a registered voter, and wish to receive a vaccine when it becomes available, please email your name, age and phone number to CEMADeputyDirector@charlestownri.org.
There are many questions surrounding the roll out of the vaccine. Charlestown's EMA staff, in coordination with our Ambulance-Rescue Service are working on local guidelines to expedite the vaccination of our residents. The vaccine is not yet widely available. We can only administer what we are given and based on the guidelines provided by the State.
Additional information specific to Charlestown can be obtained by calling the Covid-19 Hotline, 401-218-1968 from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm for the latest information. The person answering the phones is giving and receiving information, not setting policy. If you get the voice mail, leave a message and your call will be returned. You can also sign up for the Town's Constant Contact email on the Home page of the website (www.charlestownri.org) under the "News & Information" section.
The implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination plan for RI residents is constantly evolving. The State decided to concentrate the near-term vaccination on people most likely to require hospitalization and be at risk of death if they catch COVID-19. The RIDOH made a choice and used a scientific argument for the choice they made.
President, Charlestown Town Council