State-run clinics add 10,000 vaccination appointments

Curtained cubicles at the state-run COVID vaccination clinic at the Dunkin Donuts Center February 18, 2021. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Rhode Island’s state-run COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Providence and Cranston added 10,000 new appointments for coronavirus shots on Monday morning, alleviating growing frustration by people who had been unable to find the vaccine, but within about an hour, most of the appointments had been filled, according to the state-run booking website.

The Rhode Island Department of Health opened appointments to people 65 years old and older, after restricting shots to those 75 and older.

“I entered all the information in, got all the way,” said Diane, a caller to WPRO’s Gene Valicenti. “I click and it says… I’m sorry, there are no appointments available.”

At about 9:30 A.M., the Department of Health added 10,000 appointments at the state-run clinics at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence and the former office building on Sockanosset Cross Road in Cranston.

“I just wanted to let you know I was successful at signing up for a vaccine, so that was exciting,” said caller Sara to WPRO’s Tara Granahan shortly after 9:30 A.M. “And, it was a quick and easy process. And I got an appointment for tomorrow.”

Minutes later, the RI Department of Health issued a statement:

To register to be vaccinated at a State-run site, visit www.VaccinateRI.org [vaccinateri.org]. People who cannot register online can get help by calling the automated line at 844-930-1779. People who are 65 and older can also register to be vaccinated at select CVS or Walgreens retail pharmacies, or through their city and town.

The Department of Health also said it would soon stop accepting new patients at the two field hospitals established in Providence at the Rhode Island Convention Center February 26, and a few weeks later at the Sockanosset Cross Road site. Both will be sanitized and remain on standby in case they are needed in the future.

This story has been updated