AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The state has designated four coronavirus vaccination days for educators, school staff, and child care workers across Massachusetts. This announcement happens while launching a new pre-registration system to schedule appointments.
Western Mass News spoke with a teacher who has more than 20 years of experience, who said she's frustrated with Governor Charlie Baker's new plan and does not think appointments will be scheduled easily.
"This has been a horrendous rollout," said Amherst Public School educator Jean Fay.
Fay told Western Mass News on Wednesday after reading the governor’s new plan to vaccinate teachers, school staff, and child care workers across the state.
"I half expected to read, 'May the odds be ever in your favor,'" she said.
Around 400,000 of these employees are eligible for an appointment at a mass vaccination site on these four days. All the sites are dedicated to giving shots to these qualifying workers.
After heavy criticism on the state’s current appointment website, the governor is now launching a new pre-registration website beginning Friday. Users eligible for a vaccine need to fill out the information and provide a contact method notified when an appointment is open.
But Fay said when she logs onto the site, it said it will provide weekly updates.
"Which doesn’t give people much hope of getting an appointment anytime soon," she said.
With only one mass vaccination site in western Mass., she said too many people will be vying for not enough spots.
"Having everyone go to the Eastfield Mall, it’s just not feasible," she noted
She added that the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts Union even sent a proposal to the state, wanting to come into school districts and vaccinate employees.
"Which would’ve taken the burden off this website because all of these 400,000 educators we would not be logging onto this website," she said.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association also weighed in. They sent a statement to Western Mass News on the latest announcement, saying:
"The decision to force schools to open too many more students starting April 5 is poorly timed with the vaccine rollout. Students will be crowding back into our school buildings, bringing them to full capacity before most educators will have had the chance to be vaccinated. We are urging the state to delay the reopening schedule until the Monday after April vacation week, April 26, at the earliest. This would give staff more time to receive at least one dose of the vaccine."
Fay said while the governor's plans are frustrating, she wants to get back to school.
"This is my 23rd year as an educator. I love my students every single one of them, and I want to be back in the building safely," Fay added.
The new pre-registration system launches on Friday. There will be 40,000 new first-dose appointments made available by the state on Thursday.