A Dozen Ways to Say No

This morning, searching for vaccination sites that should theoretically be available for my elderly parents, I followed the links to official instructions that are on my website here. Those instructions take a senior citizen looking for vaccination to a statewide list of COVID vaccine locations. I checked a dozen locations reasonably near my senate district and found no available appointments. The process was somewhat daunting as each site was unique in its presentation.

This result is disappointing, but was not surprising. I did not start the project until almost 10:30AM and available appointments had likely been booked previously for people in Phase I or scooped up early in the day by people in Phase II (for which scheduling just opened up).

Appointments are going to remain scarce over the days and weeks to come. There 1.2 million people over 65 in Massachusetts. A little over 100,000 have already been vaccinated in nursing homes, so there are over 1,000,000 seniors who hope to be vaccinated over the next month or two. In the first six weeks of the program, which started on December 14, the state has received doses for approximately 75,000 people per week (two doses per person). Most of those have already been administered to (or committed as second doses for) the first responders, health care workers and long-term care residents in “Phase 1”. If new vaccines come in at the same rate, it will take 14 weeks to work through the population over 65. There are other groups in Phase II as well, so the overall process of “Phase 2” may take over four months. The key question is whether vaccine production will accelerate at the national level.

Results of search of state identified sites for COVID Vaccine appointments for senior citizens over 75 near Boston, Watertown or Belmont on January 27.

SiteStatus on January 27
FenwayLink to register for an appointment coming soon
Reggie Lewis CenterCheck back soon for a link
South Boston Community Health CenterThank you for your interest. All of our appointments are currently full.
WegmansBlank screen
Holtzman Medical GroupNo times are available in the next month (from January 27, 2021 to February 26, 2021)
CVSNone of your selected vaccines are available nearby (any zip code in my senate district — 02115, 02116, 02215, 02199, 02134, 02135, 02472, 02478).
Atrius HealthWe are currently booking appointments for individuals in Phase 1 priority groups only. We are not booking appointments for Phase 2 or 3 groups at this time.
Needham Public HealthLinks to maimmunization.org — search for senior eligibility within 25 miles of Allston: “No clinics to show.”
Waltham: HannafordThere are no locations with available appointments within 30 miles of Allston, MA 02134.
Arlington Family PracticeAll appointment times are currently reserved. Please check back again later.
Gillette StadiumRequires full sign up process including personal and insurance and health disclosures before showing appointment availability. After completion, “No appointments available” for today, 1/27/2021 and no link to tomorrow.
MAImmunizations.orgSecondary link for Medford, Needham, Weston — links mostly to first responder sites for specific communities

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

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9 Comments

  1. Your assumption that the slots were already taken because you waited until 10:30 in the morning, gives too much credit to the system in use. I tried at midnight last night, and only after going to myriad sites (including waiting “in line” for a half hour at Stop & Shop, just to get on the site, and then being told no slots available) took the first one available-March 29- a half hour drive away.
    Some of the providers had you fill out all kinds of info first (health ins. #, phone, etc.) before you got to the point where they then said “no appointments available”. Gov. Baker should institute a uniform requirement that the process for filling out personal info only occurs after the slot is available and a name is given-some of the commercial sites appear to be taking advantage to expand their “membership” rolls.

  2. I, too, tried for hours to no avail. I am technically in phase 1, but haven’t had any success. I tried at 9:00am this morning, as well as for the past few days.

  3. Who knows when all those appointments were scooped up?I started looking at 3:00 am this morning and there was nothing anywhere.

  4. Good Afternoon, I hope this finds you and your family well.
    Thank you for the informative article.
    Just a quick note: I called Arlington Family Practice.
    Rather than: “All appointment times are currently reserved. Please check back again later.”, they said “all appointments are for current practice patients ONLY- there will be NO appointments open to the non-practice patient population”.

  5. This is what I found, too. Thanks for putting all of that information there for us to see…validates what I experienced, and makes me feel less like I was doing something incorrect.

  6. thank you; this is so important to get to the public in my city…. and across the state. The Globe is trying to help… I understand there is a meeting with Mary Lou Scudders tomorrow (Thursday) and I hope there is going to be a serious discussion and commitment…. Baker has disappointed us at every turn.

  7. p.s. I don’t mind being on a waiting list but I totally object to this “win the lottery” to “Get your appointment”. …… and the struggle with ICT that requires special equipment (like $1000 cell phones and $2500 office set up at home). I spoke with my physician on the phone for 1/2 hour and he shared frustration from his professional viewpoint… Have doctors been cut out from this delivery system? Why is it corporate sites to proclaim public/private cooperation? Is there no public health infrastructure? there should be

  8. Gotta confess, I realize this is an enormous initiative, and the impact is absolutely specific and personal, as well as urgent (COVID ==> death for some).
    As a guy whose work is all about logistics, I am utterly puzzled and bewildered, and I do not want to just criticize what looks like chaos, but rather really even offer to help if it were possible to solve these needs and complexities.
    But, MA seems to have this arrogance about healthcare superiority, yet it is not evidenced in these activities, capabilities and results.
    What to do? How to improve? There is time to make better, but… ? I can wait it out, but can others?

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