BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday urged family members and friends of senior Massachusetts residents to assist them with booking online appointments to get their COVID-19 vaccination.
The state is moving into Phase 2 of its vaccination plan this coming Monday, and vaccine appointments on Wednesday officially became available to be reserved online for people 75 years of age and older.
“We certainly urge family members and friends to help support older residents, help them book their appointments…This will not only be incredibly important to your loved one but it will also help older residents start securing appointments when they become available,” Baker said during a news conference at the State House.
To make an appointment, head to the state’s website to view a list COVID-19 vaccination locations for individuals in eligible groups and phases.
Residents can then scroll down to the map, click a location near you, and then press the “book an appointment” link. Any senior who is experiencing trouble booking an appointment can click here to get assistance.
As vaccinations ramp up, the revised order for Phase 2 vaccinations is:
- Individuals 75+
- Individuals 65+ or with 2+ comorbidities
- Early education and K-12 workers, transit, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works, and public health workers
- Individuals with one comorbidity.
When Phase 2 launches, Baker urged the more than one million senior residents in the state to remain patient because there may initially only be a limited number of appointments available.
“If you can’t secure an appointment right away, you need to be patient about that,” Baker said. “We understand the difficulty that’s attached to that but keep checking the website and going back to check again on the sites that make the most sense for you.”
Baker noted “more and more” time slots will be added on a rolling basis as additional vaccines are shipped to the state and that it might “take several trips to the website” before an appointment is secured.
“If we had more supply, that would absolutely make a difference, but we can only play with the supply we’ve got,” Baker said.
The governor assured residents that state officials are working to create “additional resources” to book appointments, in addition to collaborating with public and private organizations that support seniors.
“We’ve had more than a million hits on the state’s website since this was announced,” Baker said. “There’s a lot of people here that we’re talking about that are eligible and want to make an appointment…We’re going to continue to expand our capacity.”
Baker also addressed President Joe Biden’s plan to ramp up vaccine deliveries to hard-pressed states over the next three weeks.
“We have not received specific details about the actual size of the increase or the delivery schedule to the Commonwealth from the federal government but obviously we’ll keep people informed on that as we become more informed,” Baker said.
Biden expects to provide enough doses to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of the summer or early fall.
Between at least five mass vaccination sites and more than 160 public sites, Baker said the state is banking on being able to deliver more than 300,000 doses to residents each week by mid-February. This plan, of course, hinges on how many doses are provided by the feds.
As of Wednesday, 966,000 doses have been shipped to the state but only 51 percent of the shots have been administered.
Baker has insisted that there has been a lag in reported vaccinations, as well as difficulties with the rollout process at some 800 congregate settings.
Vaccines will be available to the general public in Phase 3.
(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)