The process to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment is changing in Massachusetts, starting with the state's seven mass vaccination sites.
Starting Friday, residents will need to preregister for appointments at the large-scale sites using a new online tool. All appointments at those seven sites will be booked through the tool after it goes live mid-morning.
"The process will hopefully ease some of the anxiety and the burden folks have been experiencing," Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said.
The new booking platform marks a significant shift in the Baker administration's vaccine rollout after weeks of criticism from lawmakers and residents, particularly aimed at the stress created by jockeying to secure a slot.
Initially, this program is only for the state’s seven mass vaccination sites. More sites will be added to the preregistration system in April.
How It Works
Starting Friday, people can preregister on the state's website to book an appointment at the nearest mass vaccination site based on zip code.
People will be asked to fill out some personal information on a preregistration form. The state will release the form's specific URL on its website Friday.
Preregistered residents will be added to a waiting list and notified when an appointment becomes available.
Once an appointment opens up, residents will be notified via email, phone or text, based on their preference. The notification will include a link with a special code needed to schedule the appointment, which expires after one day.
The appointment must be accepted within 24 hours, otherwise the resident will be sent back into the queue and must wait for another appointment.
Residents can opt out of their preregistration at any time if they get an appointment elsewhere.
The preregistration system allows family members and caregivers to fill out the form on behalf of someone else in order to accomodate elderly residents. Residents who do not have internet access or have trouble with the process can call 211 to preregister.