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12/1/2020 New House COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force meets tomorrow
First meeting includes public health experts Drs. Fine, Jha
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccine is scheduled to hold its first meeting virtually on Wednesday.

The meeting is to be held Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. via WebEx.

The meeting will be televised live on Capitol Television, which can be seen on Cox Channels 15 and 61, in high definition on Cox Channel 1013, on Full Channel on Channel 15 and on Channel 34 by Verizon subscribers. It will be live streamed at

The meeting’s agenda includes discussions on Rhode Island’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution with former Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Michael Fine, who is now chief health strategist for the city of Central Falls and senior clinical and population health services officer of Blackstone Valley Community Health Care; and Brown University School of Public Health Dean Dr. Ashish K. Jha, a nationally recognized public health expert.

The task force is planning to meet virtually twice more in December, and into the new year. On Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m., it will discuss vaccine distribution with executives from Pfizer, which has applied to the Federal Drug Administration for emergency approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, and Woonsocket-based CVS, which will help distribute it. Participating for CVS will be Dr. Sreekanth Chaguturu, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Caremark CVS; Christopher Cox, senior vice president for pharmacy operations; and Steven Larrabee, senior director, state government affairs.
On Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m., the task force plans a discussion with representatives from the state Department of Health.

The new task force, announced by Speaker-nominee K. Joseph Shekarchi last week, is to ensure that Rhode Island’s distribution of the vaccine is done in a timely manner following the CDC guidelines and that front-line workers, the health-compromised and the elderly are given access first, and also to make certain the needs of the underserved populations are appropriately addressed. The task force will work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health and learn about the state’s vaccine plan.

The task force will also learn more about the state’s involvement as one of four states in the Pfizer’s pilot program to test distribution of the vaccine.

The task force includes:
  • Rep. Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence), who will serve as chairman
  • Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket)
  • Rep. Michael W. Chippendale (R-Dist. 40, Foster, Glocester, Coventry)
  • Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown)
  • Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls)
  • Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett)
  • Representative-elect Michelle E. McGaw (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton)
  • Rep. Mary Duffy Messier (D-Dist.62, Pawtucket)
  • Rep. Thomas E. Noret (D-Dist.25, Coventry, West Warwick)
  • Rep. David J. Place (R-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester).
“I look forward to hearing from the public health experts and those involved in manufacturing and distributing the vaccine to ensure that all Rhode Islanders have an opportunity to receive this vital vaccine in the not too distant future. It is critical that our state is ready when this process begins,” said Representative Hull.

No public testimony will be accepted at the virtual meetings.


For more information, contact:
Larry Berman, Communications Director for the Office of the Speaker
State House Room 322
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2466