BOSTON (WWLP) – Changes have been made to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine website to avoid crashing as thousands of vaccination appointments were released Thursday morning.
According to the Mass.gov twitter page, this week’s appointments at mass vaccination sites were “nearly all filled” as of 9:27 a.m. Thursday morning. The state says if you were not able to schedule an appointment this week to try again next week.
Every Thursday the state releases thousands of new vaccine appointments that eligible individuals can sign up for.
“I was 10,000 some odd or 600 some odd number…” said Anthony, a Chicopee resident attempting to get an appointment on Thursday.
That’s how tens of thousands of people, like Anthony, found themselves digitally Thursday morning as the state released 50,000 COVID-19 vaccination appointments at mass vaccination sites. Once he got into the Eastfield Mall site, the spots were full, now he would have to wait in the Gillette digital line hoping they have a spot.
“We should have one system that does it all,” said Anthony.
Over a million people are currently eligible, leaving only a five percent chance of getting a spot Thursday morning. By 9:30 a.m., the state said nearly all the slots were gone.
“I’m number 20,000 this time, I’ll probably wait three or four hours and I’m sure Gillette will be filled by that time,” said Anthony.
Anthony says calling the state’s vaccine hotline at 2-1-1 for help was unsuccessful, “They just told me, ‘well you gotta go on the internet, go on the internet.’ They were busy. They couldn’t handle me.”
To avoid a repeat of last week when the website crashed, the state had made changes making sure the booking site can handle large volumes of users in a short period of time. Governor Charlie Baker said the state’s vaccine website will now be equipped to handle the additional traffic. However, the demand remains extremely high. Baker is blaming the federal government for not supplying enough vaccine to the state.
One of the new changes is a “digital waiting room” where some users will be placed into the waiting room which will give information on when you can go forward with booking your appointment. While this helped prevent the site from crashing, it left people in queue for several hours.
Retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens are also expected to administer an additional 20,000 doses next week.
According to Curative’s website around 7:35 a.m., there were 71,759 people in line waiting to schedule an appointment, and only 50,000 appointments available in the state.
If you don’t want to book an appointment through the state’s website you can book an appointment through a specific vaccine site location.
Anyone with trouble accessing the internet can call the states 211 hotline starting at 8:30 a.m.