DANVERS — The Hilton DoubleTree Hotel mass vaccination site in Danvers has begun allowing patients to schedule their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine immediately after receiving the first dose.
Terry Dattoli, a registered nurse administering the vaccine at the super site, said the change was made on Thursday — the day after the site opened.
Some who were at the super site on Wednesday, like Susan Callum of Peabody, expressed frustration because patients who received vaccines on opening day couldn’t immediately schedule their second dose.
“I asked and they said you have to go back online, and you have to go through the whole process again to schedule a second appointment,” Callum, who was accompanying her 89-year-old mother at her first vaccination appointment, said. “It’s crazy.”
Callum’s mother, Carole Toltz, said she wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to schedule an appointment if her daughter hadn’t helped her.
Toltz isn’t alone.
Even though the state expanded access to the COVID-19 vaccine to people over the age of 75 earlier this month, many people eligible for the vaccine feel confused by the process of setting up an appointment.
“Especially seniors,” Toltz said, explaining that the idea of navigating the online scheduling system is anxiety-inducing for those who aren’t computer-savvy.
Carla King, who lives in Danvers, said she is concerned for patients who have to renavigate the online system in order to book their second appointment.
“I can’t even imagine, because it was hell to get her an appointment,” she said about helping an elderly friend schedule a vaccine appointment, “so how is it going to be getting a second appointment, especially because everyone is still trying to get their first appointment? It doesn’t make sense.”
King, who is a social worker, said she got vaccinated through Lawrence General Hospital two weeks ago and scheduled her second shot the same day she received the first dose of the vaccine.
Other vaccination sites also allow patients to schedule their second shot on the day of their first appointment or earlier.
According to a CVS representative, CVS locations offering the COVID-19 vaccine including the 300 Canal St., location in Salem have patients schedule their first and second doses at the same time.
The representative said patients can schedule their appointments on the CVS website or by calling 888-300-4419.
Casey Chuy, a senior marketing manager at North Shore Medical Center, said those getting vaccinated through North Shore Medical Center can set up their second appointment immediately after receiving the first dose of vaccine.
“They make their second appointment that same day,” she said, adding that North Shore Medical only has one vaccination location at 480 Lynnfield St. in Lynn.
Chuy said North Shore Medical is reaching out directly to eligible patients in order to help them make an appointment.
Teresa Hebert, the director of media relations at Beth Israel Lahey Health, said Lahey is also reaching out directly to patients in their system via email, text message, phone and mail in order to help them schedule vaccine appointments at Beverly and Burlington locations. She said there are plans to open additional vaccination sites in Gloucester and Newburyport.
“Patients are scheduled for their second dose during their appointment for their first dose,” she said.
According to David Greenbaum, a health agent for the city of Salem, those who get vaccinated at the regional clinic held regularly at Salem State University also schedule their second appointment the day they receive their first shot.
Greenbaum added locals can make their appointments using the state website. If a patient does not have access to a computer or is having difficulty navigating the online system, Greenbaum said locals should contact their local council on aging for scheduling assistance.
Staff writer Erin Nolan can be reached at 978-338-2534, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @erin_nolan.