BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts residents 75 and older were experiencing frustrating issues and long delays on the first day they are eligible to sign up for appointments to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
Sign ups began Wednesday in advance of Phase 2 of the state's COVID vaccine plan starting with shots in arms on Monday, February 1. After residents 75 and older are vaccinated, people 65 and up will be eligible.
Right now, there are 85 locations where elderly residents can sign up to get vaccinations. Most require people to sign up online, but eight of those let you call to register.
Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you're eligible and to book an appointment
But with registration open, many WBZ-TV viewers expressed frustration that they have been unsuccessful and facing long wait times. One viewer said they have been trying to sign up their 95-year-old mother, who lives in North Andover.
"I've been attempting to register her for over 4 hours. I'm willing to bring her anywhere, anytime," the viewer wrote in an email to WBZ-TV. "Thus far I've only been able to access one site that has been showing over an hour wait for the past 2 hours. Of course, I don't know if I will gain access, and if so, whether any appointments will be available."
At 8 a.m., a viewer emailed that they have been trying since just past midnight to register their 97-year-old father.
"Nothing works! Gillette still says only phase 1, Fenway 'coming soon,' all CVS locations only list Feb. 1 and 2 with none available, Stop and Shop (after waiting 1 hour in the pharmacy queue line) still only lists Phase 1. Walgreens, nothing available!" the viewer wrote, calling the process a "debacle."
Kristi Frank of South Weymouth has been struggling to help her 81-year-old grandmother sign up for an appointment. She said she was disappointed in the lack of options for vaccine sites on the South Shore.
"It was confusing for me so I can imagine for people 75 and older its not going to be easy for them to go on if they don't have someone to help them," Frank told WBZ-TV. "It's a logistical nightmare because of all the people that have to be vaccinated, but at the same time we knew a vaccine was coming."
Late Wednesday morning, the Baker administration issued a statement about the issues.
Due to extremely high demand for appointments and limited vaccine supply, it may take time to secure an available appointment. Residents are encouraged to keep checking the website as appointments are added on a rolling basis. The Vaccine Map has multiple provider types (i.e., mass vaccination, pharmacies, local vaccination sites) and appointments will go live on a rolling basis over the course of the day.
In the afternoon, the state said nearly 10,000 appointments went live for the mass vaccination sites in Springfield and Danvers Wednesday and that there were only a handful left.
Another 20,000 total new appointments will become available at the Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park mass vaccination sites on Thursday.
Though the vast majority of emails and comments to WBZ-TV have expressed frustration, several commenters did say they were successfully able to get an appointment.
"Got mine!" one wrote.
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