New vaccine website launched in Mass. to make registering for vaccine easier

Charlie+Baker+at+a+press+conference

Courtesy of Joshua_Qualls via Flickr

Charlie Baker at a press conference

Massachusetts residents and employees may have a better chance to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine after the government changed the state’s online registration system last week

As of March 12, anyone living or working in Massachusetts who wishes to get a COVID vaccine must pre-register using the state’s new website.

The new website will allow people to fill out their personal information and indicate how they prefer to be contacted, either via phone call, e-mail or text message. They are then added to a waiting list, and once they are eligible and an appointment is available, they will be sent an individualized link to an appointment that they will have 24 hours to confirm.

If they fail to sign up through the link within 24 hours, the appointment will be given to someone else and the person will be added back onto the list.

The pre-registration website is only for appointments at the state’s seven mass vaccination sites, with more sites to be added in the future. Appointments can still be booked at pharmacies, hospitals and local vaccination sites using the old website.

Courtesy of Mass.gov

Prior to the launch of this pre-registration system, the state would release tens of thousands of appointments to the public under the website’s previous format every Thursday morning.

Eligible workers and residents would scramble to sign up for an appointment on the old website, which was plagued with problems. It crashed on Feb. 18 when a new group of 1 million people became eligible for the vaccine, and people were also faced with absurd wait times trying to book appointments, with one resident’s page saying their wait time was 39725 minutes.

The state is hopeful that this new pre-registration system will improve the bumpy vaccine rollout, which has been heavily criticized by both lawmakers and citizens alike.

“I’m glad Massachusetts now has a pre-registration system for COVID vaccines – the congressional delegation urged Governor Baker to implement one last month,” Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted Friday afternoon.

Back in February, the Massachusetts congressional delegation called on the Baker administration to create a pre-registration website, pointing out that a number of other states had successfully done so already.

An additional 400,000 people became eligible to receive the COVID vaccine in Massachusetts when, on March 2, the Biden administration directed the states to allow K-12 educators and other school employees to get vaccinated.

Governor Baker’s administration announced that there would be “four dedicated educator days at mass vaccination sites and updates on vaccine distribution channels,” according to the March 10 press release from the Baker administration.

The public is hopeful that this new system will decrease the stress and anxiety of getting an appointment and make the vaccine rollout a bit smoother.

“Massachusetts *finally* has a decent online system for covid vaccines and I just pre-registered. I’m on the list!” said Twitter user @lizcovart.

If you are a Massachusetts resident or are working or studying in the state, you can pre-register for the vaccine on the new website by clicking here.

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