Covid-19 vaccines arrive on the island

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 5:15pm

The first round of the Moderna Covid19 vaccines for Block Island was delivered on Monday, Dec. 28, by the town’s Emergency Management Co-Director Bill McCombe, who arrived at the Block Island Medical Center around 12 p.m. with the batch of vaccines from the mainland. McCombe then handed over the vaccines to Block Island Medical Center Director Dr. Tom Warcup. The BIMC is designated as a Covid-19 vaccination site, and as the vaccines become available, the BIMC will administer them to the community in accordance with the Rhode Island Department of Health guidelines.

In a conversation with The Times after delivering the vaccines, McCombe noted the BIMC has been in constant communication with the R.I. Department of Health.

“Dr. Warcup has been very professionally aggressive in working closely with the R.I. D.O.H., myself, and [Medical Assistant] Kyra Ernst. We thank the R.I. D.O.H., and we are very fortunate to have [Warcup],” said McCombe.

In the afternoon that same day, Dr. Warcup administered the first Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to Nurse Claire McElderry.

On Tuesday, Dec. 29, staff members of the BIMC administered Moderna Covid19 vaccines to the first responders of the community — Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department members, and the Police Department.

Dr. Warcup told The Times the vaccinations were administered “in two parts - the medical staff yesterday [Monday, Dec. 28], and the [Emergency Medical Services] yesterday and today, [Tuesday, Dec. 29]. We had a few extra people today, but this was the bulk.” He noted the staff “did 50 immunizations over the last two days.”

“We have a few more first responder team members to do,” added Warcup.

The next phase of vaccinations will be for individuals over 80 years old. In the future, and on a larger-scale, vaccination of the community, Warcup stated those vaccinations will be conducted at the Fire Barn.

The administration of the vaccines “went very well” said Warcup. “How it flowed, and how we managed the patients was a real triumph to the team,” he said.