The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is announcing that the updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine will be available at community clinics throughout the state over the coming weeks.
These clinics will be held in the late afternoon and evening at schools and are open to the entire community. To register, go to covid.ri.gov/vaccination and click "Community Clinic Registration." People can register for either COVID-19 vaccine (available at these clinics for people ages 5 and older), flu vaccine (available at these clinics for people ages 3 and older), or both vaccines. It is safe to receive both vaccines at the same visit. There is no insurance requirement and no cost for vaccination. People can get the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine even if they have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past.
"Everyone older than six months of age should get the updated COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination is especially important for older adults and people with underlying health issues," said Interim Director of Health Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH. "Just like the flu, the virus that causes COVID-19 is always changing, and protection from COVID-19 vaccines declines over time. Getting your updated COVID-19 vaccine helps restore your protection and is one of the best steps you can take to avoid serious illness and hospitalization."
In addition to preventing serious illness, COVID-19 vaccine can also help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to people who are more vulnerable to the health effects of COVID-19, including older adults and people with underlying health issues. Vaccination also reduces your chance of experiencing Long COVID (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects/index.html), which can develop during or following acute infection and last for an extended period of time.
Clinics are being held during school hours for students, in addition to these afternoon and evening community clinics. Schools that already held their flu vaccination clinics will be given the opportunity to hold additional clinics to make the updated COVID-19 vaccine available. Schools are communicating directly with families about these clinics for students. People who have already registered for a flu vaccine at a daytime or evening clinic who wish to add a COVID-19 vaccine may complete the online COVID-19 vaccine consent form through the registration system and both vaccines will be given at the same appointment. People may select any available timeslot as a placeholder. Pre-registration is required to guarantee an appointment. Walk-ins will be accepted on a limited basis, as resources allow.
Additional information about preventing respiratory viruses:
- Get your flu shot. Everyone older than six months of age should be vaccinated against the flu every year.
- Stay home when sick. Stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone. Temperature should be measured without the use of fever-reducing medicines (medicines that contain ibuprofen or acetaminophen). Avoid contact with others, especially older adults and people with underlying health conditions, if you are sick.
- Wash your hands regularly throughout the day using soap for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands. Hand washing is especially important before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; after leaving a public place; after touching objects or surfaces that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles and tables.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands. Always wash your hands as soon as you can after you cough or sneeze.
- Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any of the classic symptoms, like fever or chills, a runny nose, a cough, achiness, or loss of taste or smell. If you or someone you live with tests positive for COVID-19, there are steps you can take to prevent spreading the virus to others and protect yourself from getting very sick. The Isolation Calculator (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/isolation.html) can help you determine how long you should stay home and isolate away from others. Learn more about doctor-recommended treatments for COVID-19 that can keep you from getting sicker and being hospitalized at https://covid.ri.gov/treat/therapeutics#treatment