Long lines form as digital waiting room feature launches on Mass. vaccine finder website

Coronavirus

BOSTON (AP/WPRI) — Gov. Charlie Baker said the state is working to improve its vaccine finder website by creating a “digital waiting room” ahead of 50,000 new appointments being added Thursday.

If there is high traffic on the website, those trying to make a vaccine appointment will be placed in the waiting room area. The change is meant to keep the site running.

“We believe the waiting room in particular, which is a tool that a lot of people use when they don’t know exactly how much traffic they’re going to have, will be a very important part of making sure people have access to the site,” Baker said Wednesday.

The state says the 50,000 new appointments would be added at the state’s mass vaccination locations across the Commonwealth on Thursday.

However, when new appointments were released and the digital waiting room opened on Thursday morning, the number of those waiting in line far exceeded the number of available appointments.

The state’s website had more than 116,000 people in the waiting room just after 8:00 Thursday morning.

By 9:30 Wednesday morning, the state made an announcement over Twitter, saying due to a “severely limited vaccine supply and a large population of individuals eligible to get a vaccine,” nearly all of the roughly 50,000 appointments had been filled at the state’s mass vaccination sites.

A secondary tweet stated for those who have not been able to schedule an appointment yet to try again next week, noting it may take several attempts over the course of a few weeks to get an open slot.

When in the waiting room, the site gives people the option to enter their email address to be notified to return to the website, and adds they will have ten minutes to return.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts’ sixth mass coronavirus vaccination site opened at the former Circuit City facility in Dartmouth.

The site is expected to start by administering about 500 shots per day before increasing to about 2,000 daily doses within several weeks.

It joins mass vaccination sites already up and running in Boston, Foxborough, Danvers, Natick and Springfield.

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