The next round of COVID-19 vaccine appointments in the state went online Thursday morning. Most of them were booked in a matter of a quick couple of hours.

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- There’s frustration among many after it took only three hours to run out of COVID-19 vaccine appointments online this morning and a new virtual ‘waiting’ room feature didn’t go over well with our viewer.

Some told us there were thousands of people vying for a spot by 8 a.m.

All the appointments across the state were booked by midday, but all the slots for the Eastfield Mall were pretty much booked within two hours, by 9 a.m.

The new waiting room feature on the state's vaccination website shows just how many people are in line in front of you.

“It put me in the waiting room and i had 77,658 people ahead of me,” said William Faust of Feeding Hills.

The race for the COVID-19 vaccine that we’ve been talking about for months has entered the final lap, but it’s a mad dash to the finish line to actually sign-up for a vaccine appointment.

After last week’s system crashes, the state unveiled a waiting room feature and by 8 a.m., people stuck in the virtual line were doing the math.

“A message came up and said that they were only 2,500 slots available and I looked at the waiting list and I was 6,700-and-something still waiting,” Faust added.

Western Mass News tracked dozens of people’s efforts to get a slot. We found some had thousands, even a hundred thousand people, waiting in line ahead of them.

Others showed they would be waiting for more than 3,000 minutes before they’d be able to get a slot.

Emails came pouring in from viewers expressing their frustrations over the virtual sprint that offered no payoff for them.

“The site is full, there’s no more appointments, and they froze my waiting time,” Faust noted.

Governor Charlie Baker answered questions from state legislators on Thursday regarding the vaccine rollout. He acknowledged last week’s technical issues in the sign-up process, but said future blocks of new appointments could vanish just as quickly.

“One of the great challenges we and they and you and the rest of us face is recognizing that until we see significant increase in supply, which I’m hoping starts in March, we’re constantly going to be dealing with issues of frustration and anxiety, which I totally get,” Baker explained.

Whether there were technical issues or too much time spent in a virtual waiting room, people say the result feels the same.

“I would watch these thousands tick away, tick down, tick down…I might as well have had it crash like it did on me last week because there was no benefit to waiting in that line,” said Mary Keough of Springfield.

Did you have issues or problems with the appointment booking process on Thursday?  Tell us about it by emailing Your Vaccine Authority at vax@westernmassnews.com

Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have more on-air and online as it becomes available.

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Copyright 2021 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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