East Bay regional vaccination center opens

People line up for COVID vaccinations at a new, East Bay site at the East Providence Senior Center April 7, 2021. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Vaccinations for COVID-19 became available Wednesday at a new, East Bay regional site in East Providence, where up to 600 people a day can get a shot.

A line formed outside the East Providence Senior Center on Waterman Avenue as the staff waited for the vaccine to thaw, according to a worker.

Governor Dan McKee visited one of the other regional vaccination centers in Westerly earlier in the day, then took part in the brief, ceremonial opening of the East Providence location.

“Right now, 97% of Rhode Islanders have access to a vaccine site within 15 minutes of a local drive, with a combination of municipal sites as well as state sites,” McKee said.

The site is intended for residents of East Providence, Pawtucket, Barrington, Bristol, Tiverton and Warren.

“Everybody needs to get a shot to the best that they can,” said Tiverton Town Manager Christopher Cotta.

“Obviously, there will be some people for medical reasons who cannot, but we need to send that message. Get vaccinated so we can all get back to work, so that we can all be productive,” Cotta said.

Eventually, the goal is to double the number of shots that can be offered through the East Providence center, or POD, “point of distribution”, said Mayor Bob DaSilva, who is planning to move the center to an unused former Shaw’s supermarket nearby on Taunton Avenue.

“The former Shaw’s,” he laughed. “Everyone knows, you know, next to the old Benny’s. Right across from the high school”.