Newly eligible Massachusetts residents join scramble for vaccination appointments

Newly eligible Massachusetts residents join scramble for vaccination appointments

BOSTON — State officials are nearly doubling the number of people eligible for COVID-19 shots with the second step of Phase 2.

An estimated one million newly eligible Massachusetts residents can join the scramble for appointments starting at 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

The new group includes people 65 and older, people with two or more comorbidities as well as residents and staff of low-income or affordable senior housing.

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The booking that gets underway on Thursday will be a new test for the state’s much-criticized online appointment system.

“I’m ready to take it as it comes. I just hope it all goes smoothly,” said 66-year-old Terry Plante of Danvers. “I just want everybody to get back to normal and forget this ever happened.”

Gov. Charlie Baker estimates it may take at least a month for those who are newly eligible to secure appointments.

According to Baker, 70,000 appointments will be posted at mass vaccination sites on Thursday morning with more coming online at regional sites and pharmacies.

He said demand is much greater than the vaccine supply currently coming in.

The supply could increase in early March if the FDA clears a third vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson for emergency use.

You can schedule an appointment at vaxfinder.mass.gov.

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