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'You Need To Be Patient,' Baker Says To Frustrated Residents About Vaccine Signup Delays

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday people 75 and older who are struggling to sign up for their COVID vaccine "need to be patient" and check the state website again later.

Read: When Can I Get My COVID Vaccine?

Phase 2 of the state's vaccine plan gets underway Monday with shots set to begin for residents 75 and older February 1.

But when the registration site went live early Wednesday morning, there were widespread complaints from people who waited for hours and were unsuccessful signing up.

"We expect that by the start of Phase 2, there will be a large number of residents trying to secure a limited number of appointments. If you can't secure an appointment right away, you need to be patient about that," Baker said at a Wednesday press conference.

"We understand the difficulty that's attached to that, but keep checking the website and going back to check again on the sites that make the most sense for you. More and more time slots will be added on a rolling basis as we get additional supply."

The state said nearly 10,000 appointments went live for the mass vaccination sites in Springfield and Danvers Wednesday and that there are 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.

Find: Massachusetts Vaccine Sites

Many of the complaints Wednesday came from people who were assisting older relatives attempting to get a vaccine appointment. Some said they started trying at midnight and several hours later were still unsuccessful.

One WBZ-TV viewer said in a message "It's easier to get (Bruce) Springsteen tickets."

"We certainly urge family members and friends to help support older residents. Help them book their appointments through that website if you can get that done for them," Baker said. "And this will not only be incredibly helpful to your loved ones, but it will also help older residents start securing appointments when they become available."

Baker said that "this process for people will be frustrating" until the state receives a larger supply of vaccines from the federal government.

"It will absolutely feel frustrating. And when we have more supply that would make a difference, but we can only play with the supply we've got," Baker said.

The governor said his administration is trying to determine if there are other ways it can help residents sign up.

Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you're eligible and to book an appointment.

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