State updates vaccine appointment website ahead of 50,000 open slots

State updates vaccine appointment website ahead of 50,000 open slots

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Western Mass News is your Vaccine Authority.

Governor Charlie Baker detailed changes to the state’s vaccination appointment website including a new waiting system.

The governor said the state will allow 50,000 appointments to be booked on the website beginning Thursday. Local people are hopeful these new changes will make scheduling easier.

“I can’t get an appointment; it’s always booked,” Springfield resident Faith Garcia said.

That’s a problem people continue to reach out to Western Mass News about as the state’s vaccine rollout plan continues to leave many frustrated and discouraged.

Baker on Wednesday detailed new changes to the appointment website, a recurring stress for people 65 and older trying to book a time slot.

“We’re implementing what we’re calling a digital waiting room which is a feature to prevent outages on the scheduling website or mass vax sites,” Baker explained.

He said if there’s high traffic on the website users may get placed in the waiting room, and from there they’ll be given more information about how long it might take to proceed.

“It’s basically the equivalent of creating a line, and people would then move from their position in the line onto the website when the next opportunity to be on the website became available,” Baker said.

Garcia said she’s been having trouble getting an appointment for her and her 88-year-old mother.

“Sometimes it doesn’t want to load. I just keep trying. I figure everyone is logging in at once,” Garcia said.

But Baker said the site will be able to book 50,000 more appointments starting Thursday, and he’s hopeful the site can handle the influx of users.

“I think that a lot of the work that has been done over the past week has been designed specifically to make sure that the website can handle extraordinary volume over a very short period of time,” Baker said.

Baker said anyone without computer access can still use the state’s 2-1-1 number to register for a vaccination time.

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