Scheduling Flaw Leads To Confusion At Framingham Vaccination Site

Colleen Martin
·2 min read

FRAMINGHAM. MA — One-hundred fifty people were able to sign up to receive a vaccine in Framingham last week despite being ineligible, leading to confusion when they arrived at the vaccine site on Saturday. At the Framingham site, only Framingham residents over the age of 75 are eligible to receive the vaccine, but the scheduling system reportedly allowed people from other towns and people under the age of 75 to sign up, said Kelly McFalls, the city’s public information officer.

Though Framingham’s public health department canceled the appointments of the people who were ineligible, some people who showed up said they didn’t receive a notification.

City workers separated the people waiting into two lines: one of Framingham residents and the other of non-resident. The city prioritized residents, but was eventually able to accommodate everyone over the age of 75 who showed up for a vaccine. People under 75 were told they could not be vaccinated.

McFalls said the city isn’t sure how many people from outside of Framingham were vaccinated, but the city used all 300 of its allotted vaccines and some vaccines that were left over from a first-responder clinic. The state’s scheduling system hasn't been updated to restrict registration to people who are eligible to receive the vaccine, McFalls said. The COVID-19 Response Command Center did not respond to questions from Patch at the time of publication.

The city will have to manually cancel registrations for those who are non-residents or under 75 for its upcoming clinic on Saturday, if those people register. Framingham plans to announce the registration opening for this weekend’s clinic on Tuesday morning, after it hears how many doses it will be receiving. When it does, it plans to reiterate who is eligible to sign up, McFalls said.

“We’re trying to make the site more clear when we open up the clinic,” she said. “Hopefully people will read. By putting it in more we’re hoping it's more clear to people that it is for Framingham residents.”

McFalls said that 300 doses per week is just a drop in the bucket, and encouraged people to seek out other opportunities to get vaccinated, such as at the mass vaccinations sites at Gillette Stadium or Fenway. The site in Framingham would ideally be for people that wouldn’t be able to make it to one of the bigger sites.

“We want to make sure we’re getting the most vulnerable populations who can’t travel,” she said.

This article originally appeared on the Newton Patch