What People 75 And Up Need To Know About Vaccine Appointments In Mass.

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Plenty of people are expressing frustration over trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Massachusetts.

Especially people aged over 75, who became eligible on Wednesday to book an appointment for the shot.

According to Governor Charlie Baker, the issue at the moment is vaccine availability.

Up until Wednesday, only those in Phase One of the state's vaccination plan were eligible to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments. That included COVID and non-COVID facing healthcare workers, congregate care facility workers and residents, and first responders.

On January 27th, appointments became available for adults over 75 to get their first COVID-19 vaccine shot beginning February 1st. However, many residents said they had trouble finding any appointments available online.

Since December, Gov. Baker said the state has received about one million doses of the vaccine. There are also about one million residents in Massachusetts over the age of 75, and there are still eligible people from Phase One who have not yet received their shot.

Gov. Baker said that's why getting an appointment straight away may not be easy.

"We expect that by the start of Phase Two, there will be a large number of residents trying to secure a limited number of appointments," Baker said. "If you can't secure an appointment right away, you need to be patient about that. We understand the difficulty that's attached to that, but keep checking the website."

Baker encouraged family members to help older residents who need assistance booking appointments through the state's website when they become available.

He said more and more time slots will be added to the website on a rolling basis, as the state gets additional supplies of the vaccine.

"We're going to continue to expand our capacity," Baker said Wednesday. "But if you have a million people who are eligible, and you've only received a million doses since this all began in December, you are going to be constrained by supply."

Baker said he was informed Tuesday by the Biden-Harris Administration that states should expect to receive additional vaccines "soon," but he said his Administration has not received specific details yet on the size of the shipment increase or the delivery schedule.

President Biden announced Tuesday that the federal government would be ramping up nationwide vaccine orders from 8.6 million doses distributed per week to 10 million doses distributed per week.

"Obviously, we'll keep people informed on that as we become more informed," the Governor said. "In the mean time, we're going to plan ahead, with the assumption that our new sites will be able to deliver over 300,000 doses each week by mid-February, and anticipate that at some point we'll get more guidance from the Feds about just what exactly an increase in distribution would mean here in Massachusetts."

According to the state's website, although individuals age 75 or older were able to begin making appointments for Monday February 1st or later, it may take "several weeks to get an appointment at a location near you."

Click here to find your nearest COVID-19 vaccination in Massachusetts

"Because vaccine supply is limited, you may need to wait several weeks to schedule an appointment," the state says. "As more vaccine supply arrives in Massachusetts, additional appointments will become available."

WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal reports:

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Written by Brit Smith

(Photo: Getty Images)

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