By Anna Meiler

BOSTON (CBS) – Anyone who lives, works or studies in Massachusetts can now preregister for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, even if you are not eligible yet. For now, this is just for the state’s seven mass vaccination sites. More locations will be added in April.

The new preregistration site went live early Friday morning at mass.gov/covidvaccine. Governor Charlie Baker said as of 9:30 a.m. about 200,000 people had signed up on the site. Those who are eligible for the vaccine right now will start being notified on March 16 for open appointments.

By Friday evening, more than 400,000 people had signed up.

Baker said those who are not eligible but have preregistered will “end up in the pool whenever your eligibility begins.”

Here’s how the new system works.

You go to the state’s website to fill out a pre-registration form. You’ll receive a confirmation message via email, text or phone. Then you will get weekly updates on your status. When an appointment becomes available, you’ll get a notification and you must respond within 24 hours.

“Super simple honestly. Less than five minutes and I did it on my phone,” said Joe Shalkoski. He preregistered Friday morning.

“To be able to preregister and just have your information out there and not have to worry about it, hopefully just have them contact you when it’s your turn, I think that’s hopefully going to be a game changer.”

(WBZ-TV)

The old booking system had been plagued with website crashes and long wait times. But the last mad dash came Thursday when 40,000 new first dose appointments at the state’s seven mass vaccination sites were booked in hours.
From now on, they’ll be made available to people who pre-register with this new system. The goal is to cut down the frustration and make the process easier for everyone.

Baker said you still need to be patient and that everyone needs to remember that even if you use preregistration system it could still take several weeks for eligible people to get that first appointment.

Even if you preregister you can still continue to seek an appointment at other vaccine locations. There are 170 sites across Massachusetts open to all groups currently eligible.

Visit Mass.Gov/CovidVaccine to find out when you’re eligible and to book an appointment or call the hotline at 211.

Anna Meiler