Massachusetts families ‘frustrated’ by vaccine sign up system

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WLNE) – In Massachusetts, those over the age of 75 are just days away from being eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The state opened a brand new portal where residents can begin signing up for appointments, but many are calling the system ‘frustrating’ and ‘confusing’.

Alexandra Lentini of Attleboro says if she could barely figure it out, she doesn’t know how her 81 and 92-year-old grandparents could have.

“She can barely text, nothing,” Lentini said. “Andrew’s grandmother is a little bit more tech savvy than mine, but still, she wouldn’t have been able to figure this out.”

Lentini says she logged on at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday when appointments opened, but the interactive map was confusing. She says it brought her to sites where appointments were not available and the options she could find were far away.

“She has to drive to Swansea to go to the Walgreens one, but then the appointments were only at 6pm at night. It was very confusing,” Lentini said.

It wasn’t until the afternoon she was able to secure a spot for her grandma who lives in Revere and finally, at 4:00 a.m., she found an opening at Gillette for her husband’s grandma.

“They make you fill out all these forms online,” Lentini said. “I printed them all out for her, but also, what if these people don’t even have a printer? There are so many forms.”

“Frustration, frustration, frustration,” Senator Anne Gobi said. “I’ve been getting phone calls, text messages and emails.”

State lawmakers say they’ve heard countless stories just like Alexandra’s and are calling on Governor Charlie Baker to fix it.

“It’s not working and it’s definitely at the feet of the Governor,” Senator Gobi said. “He needs to make a change to this and he needs to do it yesterday.”

Senator Gobi says the state needs to centralize the system and create a phone line to help seniors book appointments.

“If New Hampshire can do it, Massachusetts can,” Senator Gobi said. “It absolutely can be done and to say that it can’t and that this is as streamlined as it gets, that is shame on us if that’s the truth.”

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