BOSTON (CBS) — The state’s vaccine website crashed Thursday morning just as about 1 million more Massachusetts residents became eligible to book an appointment for their shot. Problems persisted into the afternoon, and an irate Gov. Charlie Baker promised “it’s going to get fixed.”
People 65 and older and those with two or more eligible medical conditions are among those who should have been able to reserve appointment times starting at 8 a.m. But many online reported instead seeing error messages like “this application has crashed” and “bad gateway,” on the state’s vaccine locator, vaxfinder.mass.gov.READ MORE: The Roaring 2020s? A Look At What The Post-Pandemic Economy Could Look Like
Here's what shows up right now when people in Massachusetts try to get onto the state's website to find and book a vaccine appointment. About a million people are becoming eligible today with ~70,000 new appointments available. #WBZ pic.twitter.com/wSdoxVxCDW
— Liam Martin (@LiamWBZ) February 18, 2021
“I went on to the site when they said to go on. I waited because I figure, well, if you wait, it will be less likely to crash. But it already crashed,” said Brookline resident Laurie Lasky, who tried to book an appointment.
In an interview on WGBH, Baker said preparations to make sure the website could handle a traffic surge clearly were not sufficient.
“My hair’s on fire about the whole thing,” Baker said. “I can’t even begin to tell you how pissed off I am.”
Baker said he understands the frustrations among people who are unable to sign up for a vaccine.
“People did a lot of work preparing for this, but clearly they didn’t do enough,” he said. “This is not satisfactory, it’s awful, and it’s going to get fixed.”Police Search For Suspect After Report Of Shots Fired At Salem Walmart
The state’s COVID-19 Command Center addressed the vaccine website problems.
“The state’s website to find and book vaccine appointments experienced delays and technical difficulties and the administration sincerely apologizes for the frustration and inconvenience our residents experienced over the course of the day,” a spokesperson for the Command Center said.
Despite the problems, 60,000 mass vaccination appointments for the week were booked on Thursday.
Prep Mod, the state’s biggest online appointment vendor, apologized for the issues.
“Governor Baker, Secretary Sudders, and the entire public health team entrusted us with the important duty of signing up the people of the Commonwealth for COVID-19 vaccinations,” Prep Mod said in a statement. “As public health servants and your partner, we are sorry for not meeting expectations. We accept full responsibility for the problem today.”
The Command Center said appointments at mass vaccination sites are booked for the week but a small number of appointments for pharmacies and regional sites will be posted over the next several days.
The Senate and House will hold a public oversight hearing on Thursday, February 25 on the vaccine rollout.
“I am deeply disappointed that today so many Massachusetts residents are feeling frustration and anger on a day when we should be experiencing hope. I hear it and I feel it too,” State Senate President Karen Spilka said in a statement.
“We expect answers from those responsible for this failure. The Administration must deliver a better experience for our residents, who have already dealt with so much anxiety and disruption.”MORE NEWS: Massachusetts Reopening Plan: COVID Restrictions Loosen Monday, Including Restaurant Capacity
Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you’re eligible and to book an appointment.