Vaccine hacks: Tricks you can use to increase your chances of booking appointment

WALPOLE, Mass. — Getting an appointment is the biggest challenge for Massachusetts residents who are eligible. Right now, 130,000 appointments are opening up each week, but the current demand is ten times larger. But we have some helpful hints from people who’ve had success already. So, open up your computer, and let’s go through it together.

We are going to use the Google Chrome browser. The website is www.maimmunizations.org. Click phase 1 and 2 clinics.

Tip #1:

You see all of these options to narrow your search? Don’t use them.

“Just click on search and then leave it wide open because I found when you start to narrow it down is when you don’t see everything open and sometimes something will pop up that you didn’t know about,” said Kelly Loftus, who has gotten so good at booking appointments, she’s now doing it for friends and family. “I think everybody’s biggest complaint was typing in their name and all their information every single time because it doesn’t save it for you.”

That brings us to tip #2:

See the three dots on the top right of your screen? Click that. Go to...

-“Settings”

-Autofill “Addresses and more”

-Save your address in there so it will autofill for you since those few seconds you save can be precious when booking

“It auto-populates,” said Loftus. “You have to enter like your birthday and your ethnicity and your insurance information on your own, but other than that all your other information will be put in there. Don’t bother trying to book appointments that have only one spot available. It’s not even worth your time. I started off doing that which is why I was getting frustrated and then I quickly realized that I don’t even know if those are really appointments.”

Tip #3 comes from another booking expert, Ellen Serhant:

She says she doesn’t mind when there is only one available. Her trick is putting two screens next to each other. She continuously refreshes the first screen to always make sure there is availability before clicking continue on the screen, where she is booking the appointment.

“All you need is one,” said Serhant of Walpole. “I had each date in a new tab and a separate tab with like a little cheat sheet right here saying which one was which, and then when you keep refreshing that original page, if you see a ‘1’ you just go to that one and click next and then fill in the next information and wait for that one to show up again for you. Click next. So, you do that through all eight stages of the sign-up.

Aliyu: “How long did it take you?”

Serhant: “I don’t think I paid attention to my kids that day. I don’t know. A couple of hours.”

“It’s not fair to people especially people who aren’t as computer-savvy that they have to go through this agonizing process and spend all their day in front of the computer for it,” said Loftus. “I’m hoping that they will make a better process where you can maybe get the appointment time first and then fill out your information. That would be a better way for them to do it I think but they didn’t ask me.”

Tip #4:

Loftus says if you don’t get a confirmation email, check your junk, spam or promotions tabs, and the email may have gone there.

Also, if you get an error message, click enter. Don’t hit the back button, because you can lose your appointment.

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