NEWS

News Digest

Posted 5/12/21

State opens vaccination for ages 12-15 Following federal emergency use authorization for children between the ages of 12 and 15 to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination, Gov. Dan McKee and the Department of Health on Tuesday announced Rhode Island is

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NEWS

News Digest

Posted

State opens vaccination for ages 12-15

Following federal emergency use authorization for children between the ages of 12 and 15 to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination, Gov. Dan McKee and the Department of Health on Tuesday announced Rhode Island is expanding eligibility to that age group.

According to a statement, the Pfizer shots for newly eligible children will be available at the state-run walk-up clinics at Sockanosset Cross Road in Cranston, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence and Middletown.

Appointments can be scheduled through www.vaccinateri.org with consent from parents or guardians, while state officials “will also be working with cities, towns, and school departments to offer clinics in schools.” Cranston is among the communities that have already started vaccination clinics for students age 16 and older.

Pharmacies are also expected to begin offering the Pfizer shots for ages 12-15 this week.

“Largely because children cannot be vaccinated, and because more contagious variants of COVID-19 are now circulating in Rhode Island, an increased proportion of Rhode Island’s COVID-19 cases are now among children,” the Department of Health’s statement reads. “In clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine was extremely effective at preventing COVID-19 in children 12 to 15 years of age. The vaccine was 100% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection with symptoms and led to a strong antibody response.”

McKee added: “COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. I’m urging all parents to get their 12- to 15-year-olds vaccinated. This vaccine will help keep kids, families, and our community safe.”

Body found in woods near bike path

Cranston Police have identified the man whose body was discovered in woods near the bike path off Oaklawn Avenue late last week.

Gary J. Merritt, 61, was found when officers responded to the scene shortly before 4 p.m. on May 7, according to Chief of Police Col. Michael Winquist.

Members of the Detective Division and medical examiner’s officer are said to have conducted an initial investigation and found “no obvious signs of foul play.” An autopsy was scheduled for this week, according to the chief.

Cranston man sentenced in drug case

A 20-year-old Cranston man has pleaded guilty to federal drug charges as a result of a “wide-ranging FBI drug and firearm trafficking investigation,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Angel Aviles entered the guilty plea on two charges – conspiracy to distribute 28 or more grams of cocaine base, and distribution of 28 or more grams of cocaine base – during an appearance last week in U.S. District Court, prosecutors announced in a statement.

The date of his anticipated sentencing was not provided, but authorities say he and other defendants face between five and 40 years in prison.

According to the statement, Aviles is among nearly two-dozen people charged in connection with an investigation that began in January 2020 “targeting sources of supply for drugs and firearms.” Prosecutors say Aviles “brokered the sale of fentanyl and crack cocaine” for another defendant as part of narcotics distribution in Woonsocket and other locations.

-- Daniel Kittredge

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