BOSTON — Under a new bill filed by state Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, Massachusetts would provide preregistration for residents getting in line for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The law would require the state Department of Public Health to establish a centralized system for residents to pre-register. Vaccines would be distributed to people based on which phase they fall into — governed by categories such as age, medical condition, and whether they live in an elderly or medical facility.
DiZoglio’s bill comes on the heels of rampant frustration among Massachusetts residents over the state’s roll-out of the vaccine, in particular the state's vaccine website, which has left many people spending hours searching for an appointment, only to hit a dead end.
If DiZoglio's bill becomes law, Massachusetts will join several other states — including Florida, New Jersey and West Virginia — that have created a vaccine preregistration tool for residents to use. Several Massachusetts communities, including the towns of Cohasset and Hingham, have gone a step further, creating preregistration systems at the local level.
“We need to get ahead of this pandemic instead of continuing to chase after it,” DiZoglio said. “The vaccine roll-out has been less than ideal, but we can ensure that the frustration experienced by the first group of eligible recipients is not replicated during subsequent phases of the vaccine distribution plan.
"We can do that by giving all Massachusetts residents the opportunity to establish eligibility and preregister for the vaccine instead of spending time and energy trying to schedule appointments whose availability is determined by the vaccine supply chain,'' she said. "A centralized state-level preregistration system would provide residents a way to effectively hold their space in line and alert them to available appointments as their vaccination eligibility phase opens.”