SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Friday is the first-day people can preregister for a COVID-19 vaccine at one of the mass sites using the state’s new system. While it is taking the headache out of signing up for an appointment, there is still no set date for when the overall supply will increase.
There are still a lot of questions up in the air about when Massachusetts will get more vaccines. Local sites Western Mass News checked in with are prepared to administer them.
But at least now, people said preregistering for a mass vaccine appointment is much easier than the state’s previous online booking system.
"Well, I have, as you can tell, I have cancer, and I am in a high-risk group, so I’ve been trying to get the vaccine since it became available," said Belchertown resident Dana Dicocco.
Immunocompromised and eligible for the vaccine, Dicocco has been trying to get the shot that will protect her against COVID-19.
"I’ve been trying to do this for about three weeks now, and every time I get on to do it, there are no appointments available," she explained.
Following the bumpy rollout of the previous online registration system in February, the state’s newest preregistration program doesn’t force people to wait for hours in a virtual waiting room.
"It was simple. I got in, they ask you your name, your address, your phone number, how you want to be contacted, and it took like not even a minute," she said.
This new system places eligible people in a queue and will alert them by either phone call, email, or text when a nearby appointment is available.
"I wanted them to text me," she added.
From there, people have 24 hours to accept the appointment. State officials said the earliest people start getting notified about available slots on March 16.
"I think we’re up to about 200,000 people who’ve preregistered at this point, which is great," said Governor Charlie Baker.
The governor said a person who is not eligible but preregisters early would not be able to skip the line when their eligibility group opens up.
"You’re not gonna get ahead of that because it wouldn’t be fair to all the people who showed up on the first day of eligibility," he explained.
Baker added that the state expects to get a larger supply of vaccines later this month or early April. One local official is expressing frustration over how the current supply is allotted.
The mayor of Northampton tweeting a map from public health officials showing Hampshire County has received the lowest number of vaccines per capita of any county in the Commonwealth. That’s where Dicocco lives.
"I would come to Springfield if I had to," she said.
She told Western Mass News that she hopes to be notified of her upcoming appointment soon, strengthening herself against COVID-19 while she battles cancer.
"It’s been a tough year. I’ve had to isolate myself because my immune system is low," she said.