State announces appointments at many mass vaccine sites are fully booked after VaxFinder website crashes

BOSTON (WHDH) - New appointments at many mass vaccination sites have already been fully booked, Massachusetts officials announced hours after the demand for COVID-19 shots among the one million people who became eligible to receive them on Thursday overwhelmed the state’s VaxFinder website and caused it to crash.

Gov. Charlie Baker said that 70,000 appointments would go live at 8 a.m. for residents over the age of 65 and people living with at least two comorbidities, but the state’s website was overrun with traffic and many were greeted by an error message featuring an image of an orange octopus that appeared to look puzzled.

In a tweet just after 11 a.m., the state said, “All appointments for mass vaccination locations in Springfield, Danvers, Natick, and Dartmouth have been booked for the next week. More appointments for these sites will be made available next week.”

The state noted that additional appointments would be posted throughout the day for other mass sites, including Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium.

People visiting the state’s VaxFinder website as the appointments became available were met with a message that “this application had crashed.” Visitors were advised to try again shortly.

In a tweet just before 10 a.m., state officials said, “Due to extremely high volume, the VaxFinder tool and vaccine location websites are experiencing delays and technical difficulties. We are working as quickly as possible to resolve these issues. More mass vaccination appointments will be released throughout the morning.”

The state has since apologized for the website inconveniences and vowed to rectify the problems.

This is a developing story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest updates.

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