NEWS

Guard staffing vaccination center at former Citizens Bank building

By JOHN HOWELL
Posted 1/20/21

By JOHN HOWELL If it goes as smoothly as it did last Thursday morning for Technical Sgt. Deirdre Salvas, when the vaccine becomes available for the general public, getting vaccinated should take less than a half hour with most of that time a 15-minute

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NEWS

Guard staffing vaccination center at former Citizens Bank building

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If it goes as smoothly as it did last Thursday morning for Technical Sgt. Deirdre Salvas, when the vaccine becomes available for the general public, getting vaccinated should take less than a half hour with most of that time a 15-minute observation.

Salvas played the role of the guinea pig as Capt. Amanda Rameriz, a nurse practitioner in civilian life, led members of the media on a walk through of the COVID vaccination center the Rhode Island National Guard is operating from the east wing of the former Citizens Bank building on Sockanosset Cross Road in Cranston. The west wing of the same building serves as one of two field hospitals designed to treat COVID patients not requiring intensive care but not well enough to go home.

On the morning of Jan. 14, Salvas – who personally made the decision to get vaccinated – became one of 700 Guard soldiers to have been vaccinated as of last week. She was the only person to receive the vaccine in the presence of the media. To maintain their confidentiality, those who had been vaccinated earlier in the morning and completed their observation period had left and those who would later get the vaccination had not started the process.

When fully operational, Rameriz estimated the center is capable of administering between 80 and 100 injections hourly. She said the program is directed by the Department of Health and they would be providing the vaccine and determining those eligible to receive it.

In response to an email inquiry, Department of Health spokesman Joseph Wendelken wrote Tuesday: “We are still evaluating a range of options for administration sites for later portions of the vaccination campaign. It is possible that we could use a community site, and have people schedule appointments there. But those plans are not finalized yet.”

On entering the center, persons are asked if they have any symptoms of the virus and have their temperature checked. They are provided a fact sheet on the Moderna vaccine and told to disclose if they have any allergies, have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner, are immunocompromised, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, are breastfeeding, or have received another COVID-19 vaccine.

Those who have a severe allergic reaction to ingredients of the Moderna vaccine are advised not to get the vaccination.

With camera crews following, Salvas was led to an empty waiting area, then shown to a seat where she would receive the vaccine. The camera crews jostled for the best angle as Spc. Lindsey Proulx held up a needle and then gave the injection. Salvas was directed to an area where properly distanced chairs faced a row of Guard members who would watch for any out of the ordinary reactions to the vaccine. A large digital clock provided the time and a means for Salvas to know when she could leave.

On their way out, Rameriz said those having received the vaccination would be told when to return in about a month for the second dose.

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