House COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Meets Tomorrow for Presentations on Vaccine Distribution

STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccine is scheduled to meet virtually tomorrow to discuss vaccine distribution efforts with representatives from the Department of Health, Care New England and Lifespan.

The meeting is to be held tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m. via WebEx.

The meeting will be televised by Capitol Television, which can be seen on Cox Channels 15 and 61, in high definition on Cox Channel 1013, on Full Channel on Channel 15 and on Channel 34 by Verizon subscribers.  The meeting can be live streamed at http://www.rilegislature.gov/CapTV/Pages/default.aspx.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, Director; Alysia Mihalakos, Chief of the Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response, and Tricia Washburn, Chief of the Office of Immunization, will make the presentation by the Department of Health. 

Lifespan will be represented by Christine M. Collins, Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer, and Jacqueline Parrillo, RN, Director, Employee and Occupational Health Services and Human Resources. Care New England will be represented by Dr. Raymond Powire, MD, Executive Chief of Medicine, and Robin Neale, MS, Vice President, Quality and Clinical Effectiveness.

The task force’s purpose is to ensure that Rhode Island’s distribution of the vaccine is done in a timely manner following the CDC guidelines and that front-line workers, the health-compromised and the elderly are given access first, and also to make certain the needs of the underserved populations are appropriately addressed. The task force will work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health and learn about the state’s vaccine plan.

No public testimony will be accepted at the virtual meeting.

FEMA is close to finalizing a request for the Pentagon to assign service members to support vaccination efforts across the country. The agency is calling for roughly 10-thousand service members to be deployed to more than 100 sites nationwide to help administer the shots. The Defense Department is also reportedly weighing options to assist President Biden's plan to vaccinate as many as one-point-five-million people within the coming months.        Weekly initial jobless claims are falling slightly. In today's report, the Labor Department says 847-thousand claims were filed last week, which is lower than the 875-thousand that economists had previously predicted. Despite the drop, some analysts say there are still 10 million jobs missing from the economy and people need help.        Former President Trump is expected to meet with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in Florida today. The exact details of their meeting are unclear, but they will likely discuss the Senate's upcoming impeachment trial. This marks the first time the two have met since McCarthy said Trump "bears responsibility" for the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, however he has voted against impeachment.        Many parts of the U.S. are bracing for more rain and snow as a result of several winter storms that are sweeping across the country. The National Weather Service says there is potential for arctic air and strong winds to impact much of the Eastern U.S. this weekend and into early next week, with wind chill values dropping as low as 10 degrees colder in some areas. The Central California coast could also see as much as 10 to 15 inches of rain from Monterey to Santa Barbara over the next three days.       A group of investors on social media are getting rich by driving up the stock of GameStop. Stock in the game store chain has skyrocketed over ten-thousand percent in the last month, thanks to a group of investors on Reddit called WallStreetBets. Ameritrade is now limiting share trading on GameStop, and Nasdaq says it will halt trading on stocks it thinks are being manipulated by social media.        A group of stranded motorists in Oregon are vaccinated against the coronavirus after being in the right place at the right time. The Josephine County Health Department says several healthcare workers were on their way back from a mass vaccination clinic this week when they got stranded in a snowstorm. They had six doses of the vaccine that were facing expiration, so they went car-to-car along the highway offering the shots to the other motorists.        ### Jeff Dwyer/jm