BOSTON (SHNS) – Massachusetts will retire its vaccine appointment pre-registration system by the end of May and ramp up its efforts to get doses to homebound residents who cannot travel to receive the shots, the Baker administration announced Friday.
In the latest shifts as the state moves closer to the state of emergency’s end, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services said it will expand eligibility under the Homebound Vaccination Program, which originally offered at-home vaccines for individuals who met federal criteria such as requiring significant support to travel to a medical appointment.
Under the changes announced Friday, anyone who has trouble getting to a vaccination site can access the program starting Monday, May 24.
Residents who wish to register for the homebound program, which primarily uses single-dose Johnson & Johnson shots, can call (833) 983-0485 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to register.
They will receive a call back within five business days to schedule an appointment. The Baker administration will also stop accepting online pre-registrations on Tuesday, May 25.
Everyone in the queue at that point will be contacted in the following days with an opportunity to book a slot, and the system will shutter on May 31. The online vaccine finder tool at vaxfinder.mass.gov will remain available.
Nearly 2 million people signed up on the Google-based platform since it launched on March 12, and close to 600,000 appointments were ultimately booked through the system, the administration said. Before pre-registration started, demand for vaccines far outpaced supply and residents often had to compete to secure limited appointments available online.
It will go offline in a vastly different environment: more than 4.2 million Massachusetts residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, walk-in appointments are open across the state, and officials are pivoting their strategy to target harder-to-reach populations.