FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Martin
AARP Rhode Island Renews Call for a Transparent,
Centralized, Statewide COVID Vaccination Plan
Truly a matter of life and death, it is imperative the state gets this right.
STATEMENT BY AARP RHODE ISLAND STATE DIRECTOR KATHLEEN CONNELL
AARP Rhode Island is still waiting for a more transparent, age-prioritized state vaccination plan that includes an efficient and effective centralized registration and appointment system. Our first call for transparency was on January 8. Subsequently AARP, our members and thousands of other Rhode Islanders have sent letters and petitions to Governors Raimondo and McKee on age prioritization and a centralized system serving all distribution sites. As of March 9, it’s been 61 days. Yet the state plan – such as it is – remains opaque, confusing and constantly changing. Meanwhile, 99% of COVID-19 deaths in the state have been among Rhode Islanders 50 and older and 77% of hospitalizations have been patients 50+. This must not continue.
AARP is today renewing its call, urging Governor McKee to address the criteria outlined in AARP Rhode Island’s “Roadmap for Improvement” and commit to an age-prioritized state plan that serves those who are most vulnerable. Truly a matter of life and death, it is imperative the state gets this right. On Day 61, older Rhode Islanders are still waiting for an end to confusion, chaos and uncertainty surrounding the state’s plan and how it is being executed.
A Roadmap for Improvement
Prioritize Older Residents - Since the start of the pandemic, 99 percent of the deaths from COVID-19 have been among people age 50 and older. That is why it is critical that older adults be prioritized to receive these vaccines and the associated appointments.
A Centralized, Equitable, Accessible, User-Friendly, Vaccination Appointment System - All consumers must have access to a one-stop means of scheduling a vaccination. This is key to ensuring transparency and effective vaccine distribution and program management. Critical elements of any system must include the elements below.
1) a simple one stop appointment information and sign-up website requiring only minimum personal information
2) a centralized, well-staffed, toll-free, phone number to ensure all citizens are able to find and register for vaccination appointments by telephone
3) a variety of languages available to those seeking vaccination appointments.
4) options for homebound individuals that bring the vaccine to them i.e. mobile clinics that are aligned with prioritization tiered approach.
5) an effective appointment confirmation system is also critical – and that appointments made by phone are confirmed by phone
6) an effective system for scheduling a second dose of the vaccine, as required
7) a processes to identify any accessibility issues that may need to be addressed
Transparency of Data and Plans Related to Infections, Hospitalizations, Deaths, Vaccinations, and Appointments–citizens deserve a weekly, if not daily, update on all data available around the COVID 19 pandemic and the vaccination efforts in Rhode Island. A centralized appointment system is key to transparency and information needed to adjust and improve any vaccination efforts. The minimum data Rhode Island citizens should be updated on must include but not be limited to:
1) Vaccination appointment system plans, challenges, and successes.
2) List of Team Members and Vendors Developing and Managing Vaccination Program in RI.
3) An abundance of data that provides a dashboard for measuring vaccination progress as well as detailed data that tracks registration (appointments made, shots delivered, variances recorded) by zip code, age and race, as well web site and phone center performance data (including average caller wait times and average wait times at distribution sites).
Associate State Director / Communications
10 Orms St., Suite 200
Providence, RI 02904