BOSTON (WPRI) — The website for booking an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts crashed Thursday morning as roughly a million more residents became eligible to receive a shot.
Users were greeted with a screen that said: “This application crashed. If you are a visitor, please try again shortly.”
Appointments for residents 65 and older, as well as people with two or more certain medical conditions, opened at 8 a.m. Eligibility also extended to residents and staff of low-income and affordable public and private senior housing.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Finder allows residents to search for sites near them by entering their ZIP code, city or town name, or the name of a vaccination location.
In many cases, it took upwards of an hour to access the page. State officials say they’re still working to fully fix the glitch and find out exactly what caused the system to fail.
“My hair’s on fire about the whole thing. I can’t begin to tell you how p***** off I am,” Baker said. “People did a lot of preparing for this and clearly they didn’t do enough.”
More than 70,000 appointments for next week at mass vaccination sites were expected to become available Thursday.
Most of these appointments are available at Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium, which are both run by CIC Health, who expressed disappointment with the technical difficulties.
“We know how frustrating this is, and we are as frustrated as you are,” the company tweeted.
CIC Health advised users who are having trouble to keep refreshing the page.
Earlier this week, nearly every member of the state’s congressional delegation called on Gov. Charlie Baker to make changes to the way residents sign up for a vaccine appointment.
Congressman Jake Auchincloss said the state needs a page that is resilient.
“It’s 2021. Websites shouldn’t be crashing,” he said.
Baker said he’s considering the option to allow residents to put their name on a list and be notified when there’s an appointment available for them.
Appointments can also be made by calling the 211 hotline Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Wednesday, Baker said due to the high demand for appointments and limited supply of vaccine, it could take more than a month for eligible residents to secure a spot.
“These two groups that we are now opening up the vaccination process to represent approximately one million people,” he said. “The demand is so much greater than the supply that we are getting at this point in time.”