BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts has adjusted its COVID vaccination timeline, making residents 75 years old and above eligible to receive the vaccine as of February 1. People 65 and older have also been moved up in the state's timeline.
Beginning Wednesday, residents 75 and older can register for a vaccine appointment. Shots are scheduled to begin being administered starting Monday, February 1 as Phase 2 of the state's plan gets underway.
Once vaccinations have been completed for residents 75 and older, those who are older than 65 and those with two chronic illnesses or medical conditions will be eligible. Initially, residents 65 and older were included closer to the end of Phase 2.
Seniors in Massachusetts say the state's COVID-19 vaccine plan has been confusing. "They keep saying, keep checking back, and so does my primary care, 'cause it doesn't seem that we actually know when it's going to happen," said Mary Kilgallen. Of Wayland.
Glenn Strehle, who's in his 80's says he's trying to be patient. "I'm hoping I'm getting it in February but…it's been slow."
The next eligible group included in Phase 2 will include early education and K-12 workers, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works and public health workers.
When that group has been completed, residents with one medical condition will be eligible.
In Phase 3, the vaccine will be made available to the general public.
Gov. Charlie Baker urged residents to visit the state's website for more information on the vaccination timeline.
When residents are eligible they can visit the website, click on the vaccination site that works best for them, and make an appointment through that vaccination site.
Massachusetts is ramping up its vaccination effort in the face of criticism that the roll-out has been too slow.
Waltham psychiatrist Dr. Chantal Nouvellon was so frustrated, she went to another state where she happens to have a license to practice.
"So I called New Hampshire, the New Hampshire medical society, and four days later they send me an email, and I click on it and I had an appointment…and then you showed up and then they give you a shot in the arm," she said. "I was shocked because I thought that Massachusetts was way ahead of New Hampshire."
The state is setting up seven mass vaccination sites, which Baker said will have "mega capacity." They include Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Danvers and the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury. The other two sites will be announced at a later date, Baker said.
Fenway Park is set to begin operating on February 1. The Reggie Lewis Center will open the first week of February.
Baker stressed that while the state will have 103 vaccination sites open by the end of the week and 165 by mid-February, the number of shots in arms will be dependent on what Massachusetts is allocated by the federal government.
"We think it's better to over plan at this point in the process, and hope that the feds can get there, than to under prepare and have them be there when we need to be there," said Baker. "We can only move as fast as the federal government ships vaccines to the Commonwealth."
As of Thursday, Massachusetts has administered 359,919 vaccines.
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