Massachusetts residents over the age of 75 could begin scheduling appointments on Wednesday to get the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as next week.
However, as the state prepares for Phase 2 of the rollout, local lawmakers are venting concerns and frustrations about the accessibility of vaccination appointments.
According to The Boston Globe, individuals who stayed up until midnight Wednesday to schedule an appointment next week complained about a lack of available time slots, out-of-date information pages, and glitchy websites. And the issues have persisted into the morning; several readers told Boston.com that they couldn’t find any open appointments Wednesday at any of the local clinics, pharmacies, or grocery chains where vaccines are being administered.
...In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Katherine Clark called on the state to “do more” to accelerate vaccinations.
“Massachusetts needs a centralized, accessible sign up system: a one-stop shop with both online and phone-based options where residents can pre-register, receive notification of eligibility, and schedule an appointment,” said Clark, who also expressed concerns about the state’s decision to move residents in the 65 to 74 age group ahead of frontline workers, like teachers and transit workers, later in the Phase 2 prioritization.
Some states, like New Mexico, have created a centralized website where residents can pre-register for a vaccine and schedule an appointment when available, without having to check with specific providers. According to Clark’s office, the absence of such a system will ultimately result in Massachusetts residents waiting longer to get a vaccine.
...Baker noted Wednesday that many residents were able to schedule an appointment to get a vaccine. However, he said efforts to increase access ultimately hinge on vaccine supply. In her statement, Clark also acknowledged that states need more support from the federal government, both to increase vaccine shipments and help coordinate distribution.
Original story here.