PACE-RI has finished administering the first dose of COVID vaccines to all our participants who elected to be vaccinated, and the second round of shots is now underway. This is a major step forward for our participant population, who are among the most vulnerable people during the pandemic.

With many participants having been vaccinated at their living centers, this brings the percentage of our population with at least one dose up to 72%, much higher than the state average for their age group. It also represents a significant push to vaccinate people of color in RI, who to this point are underrepresented in terms of vaccinations.

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After being given just a few days’ notice that they would be receiving doses of the vaccine, PACE clinical staff put a plan in place to ensure every participant who wanted a shot would get it, including those who were homebound. Meanwhile with limited available space in PACE’s day centers, nurses had to coordinate with transportation staff to ensure everyone was in the right place at the right time.

“It really was a team effort,” said Cherie Aiello, PACE-RI’s Nursing and Homecare Manager. “We were on a very tight schedule and working with transportation helped a lot. All of us understood the importance of making this happen.”

In coordination with the state, PACE-RI is now looking ahead to the wider community, particularly to local homebound residents in need of help. We’re hoping the same clinical teams that travelled to participants’ homes will be going out to residences and apartments to administer the vaccine to elders who otherwise might slip through the cracks.

“We’re focused on getting participants vaccinated to make sure they are protected, and I’m looking forward to getting out to help homebound community members as soon as we can,” said Betsy Canino, PACE-RI’s Chief of Clinical Services. “There are so many older folks who would jump at the chance to get vaccinated, but they don’t have the means or mobility to do it.”