The state’s COVID-19 vaccination registration system is taking heat from Massachusetts' congressional delegation.

U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, whose 5th Congressional District covers much of MetroWest, was among 10 members of the state's Washington delegation to sign a letter sent last Friday to Gov. Charlie Baker and urging him to develop a centralized registration system that is faster, easier to use and provides better access to the vaccine in communities of color and for the elderly.

The letter was signed by both of Massachusetts' Democratic U.S. senators and eight of the state's nine representatives of Congress.

“We remain deeply concerned that the absence of a centralized pre-registration system for vaccine appointments has contributed to a slow and inequitable deployment of vaccines in Massachusetts, a trend that will only be exacerbated by increased demand as appointments open up to future eligibility groups,” the letter states.

When reached for comment on Tuesday, Baker’s COVID-19 Response Command Center pointed out that the administration launched a new tool on Friday — a COVID-19 vaccination finder — to help residents more easily find vaccination locations. It also established a 2-1-1 phone hotline to help residents 75 years of age and older make appointments.

“The Baker-Polito administration is offering thousands of appointments each week, especially at mass vaccination sites, and encourages the public to check the website regularly if eligible for a vaccine,” the command center said in a statement. “A new online tool, launched on February 12, and the seven-day a week phone hotline for anyone 75 and older who needs to make an appointment, are among the recent improvements to the booking process. Massachusetts will continue to make website enhancements, including additional vaccine appointment locations as the distribution process continues.”

A Clark spokeswoman said the state's registration website needs to be streamlined, because it doesn't give residents one-stop shopping. Instead of an easy process that has one place where registration is completed, the system bumps residents to other websites to complete the process.

...Clark's letter to Baker placed some of the blame for the state’s registration troubles on the Trump administration’s “mishandling” of the pandemic. It also stated the delegation will continue to push for federal dollars to pay for increased vaccine production and help Massachusetts ensure vaccines are distributed equitably and efficiently.


Original story here.