PROVIDENCE, RI — Rhode Island's soon-to-be governor is calling for come changes to the state’s coronavirus vaccine rollout plan. Lt. Gov. Dan McKee said this weekend that he believes teachers and residents 65 years old and above should be at the front of the line.
"We need to really move up on the list teachers and the support staff in schools,” McKee told WPRI on Saturday. "We’re not going to open the economy until we do that, and teachers are not going to feel comfortable by and large until we get them vaccinated."
A spokesperson for McKee's office confirmed the lieutenant governor's stance Monday.
The current rollout plan has teachers in phase two of distribution, which includes workers in high-risk settings, residents at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 and others.
"The simple answer is that state of Rhode Island simply does not have the supply right now to vaccinate everyone who wants to get vaccinated," Chan said during a previous vaccine update.
The department has received criticism from many Rhode Islanders in previous weeks for prioritizing vaccines for those older than 75, rather than opening availability to everyone 65 or older, following Centers For Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
"We're vaccinating a lot of people 65 and older, we're just doing it incrementally," Chan said.
The department would love to get everyone 65 or older vaccinated as soon as possible, Chan explained, but said that it's not "responsible" to widen the net so much without increasing the supply of vaccines. Instead, the department is limiting availability to residents older than 75, who are at the highest risk of dying from COVID-19. This group is expected to become eligible in the coming weeks.