BOSTON (WHDH) - Massachusetts on Wednesday started allowing residents 75 years of age and older to book appointments online for the COVID-19 vaccine but many people have been struggling as they attempt to reserve a time to get the potentially life-saving shot.
The state is moving into Phase 2 of its vaccination plan this coming Monday and residents 75 and up will be first in line to get vaccinated.
George Hartnett, 82, suffers from cancer and diabetes, which certainly qualifies him for eligibility in Phase 2. At this time, he’s unsure how and when he will get the vaccine.
“I have no idea where I’m supposed to go to get it but I have a doctor’s appointment coming up,” he told 7NEWS. “Hopefully he’ll give it to me or tell me where to get it.”
Hartnett is one of more than a million elderly Massachusetts residents who will soon be eligible to get the vaccine.
“I have very few patients that are in that age group that are internet savvy enough to be able to maneuver around that,” Opthamologist Dr. John Saragas said.
Saragas, who got vaccinated through his hospital, feels the state should make it easier for seniors to sign up for vaccinations without having to go online.
“Most of them know how to get on Facebook…They know how to do a text or an email,” Saragas said. “Other than that, I think you’re asking too much.”
Saragas believes a phone system would be of great help to seniors.
“If you’re going to have somebody at a phone bank…Why not just take the information right, then, and there?” Saragas suggested.
Many other seniors say they are waiting to hear from their personal doctors about how they can get vaccinated.
Gov. Charlie Baker urged family members and friends of senior residents to assist them with booking online appointments.
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.
The town of Sharon launched a less complicated website for seniors to pre-register for a vaccine after the Sharon Council on Aging was flooded with calls from confused residents. They are also allowing appointments to be booked over the phone.
“We’re going to be connected to that phone number probably tomorrow so that those seniors who can not do it by themselves or don’t have access to a computer…They can call us and we will manually put in their data,” said Kathie Medeiros, of the Sharon Council on Aging. “They will then be pre-registered.”
Medeiros says the state’s vaccine website needs to be overhauled because there are too many registration steps that can trip up senior residents.
Other council on agings near Sharon have reported similar problems.
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