New COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration site helps residents book appointments

BOSTON — The new pre-registration system is now reaching out to people to book their appointments.

This system was launched recently after the state’s website crashed when people tried to book appointments. More than a half a million people have already pre-registered. The state says those people will not have to fight for an appointment. Instead, they will be contacted when their opening is ready for sign up.

Winthrop’s Public Health Director Meredith Hurley told us her office on some days dealt with more than a hundred calls from people confused or frustrated with the state’s initial sign up system.

“They were feeling this urgency and anxiety around the vaccine,” Hurley said.

Now people can sign up and get put in line for the next available opening. When you get the appointment link, you have 24 hours to book your spot. Right now, you have to book at one of the seven mass vaccination sites across the state, including the newest one at the Hynes Convention Center.

If you don’t book your appointment, you go back in line. The site will also reach out to you weekly saying, “Yes, you are still in our system, do you still need this appointment so people can cancel their place in line, essentially if they have been vaccinated somewhere else,” said Hurley.

The system will book based on supply, so as more vaccine arrives, more people will be contacted.

“Anything that helps because everybody needs to get a shot,” one woman told us.

The Hynes Convention Center on Boylston Street in Boston site opens on Thursday, but Fenway will continue to operate for second doses only through March 29. The state is trying to get regional vaccination sites online by April, so pre-registered people can also book appointments there.

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