Many primary care practices in R.I. opting to not offer COVID-19 vaccines

ROUGHLY TWO-THIRDS of primary care practices in Rhode Island have either not responded to or said no to a request by the state to administer COVID-19 vaccines to patients. / COURTESY COVID-19 VACCINE SUBCOMMITTEE

PROVIDENCE About two-thirds of primary care practices in Rhode Island have either not responded to or declined a request from the R.I. Department of Health to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

The physicians have shared a number of reasons, according to members of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee. They include concern about wasting vaccine, and the storage requirements. Two of the vaccines, those made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, come in vials for multiple doses, and they have time expirations once they are punctured.

Other primary care physicians have indicated that there are enough opportunities in the state for people to get vaccinated, including at pharmacies, said committee members.

The reporting requirement for the data can be a little daunting, as well, if practices are not already doing that, said Tricia Washburn, chief of RIDOH’s office of immunization.

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Committee members briefly discussed the participation of primary care physicians in the vaccine campaign in their regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

As a backdrop, for several weeks, Rhode Island has had decreasing vaccination rates among many age groups. As of July 12, fewer than 50% of adolescents between 12 and 15 years old have been vaccinated

Slightly less than one-half of Rhode Island adolescents have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. / COURTESY COVID-19 VACCINE SUBCOMMITTEE


A number of back-to-school clinics are planned in the weeks ahead, according to R.I. Department of Health officials. But officials want to try to encourage family physicians to be able to vaccinate children, as well.

“We know having vaccination within the medical home is very important,” Washburn said.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at

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