On April 19th, 2021, every Massachusetts resident over the age of 16 is eligible to receive one of the available COVID-19 vaccines at no cost. Use this page as a resource to help maximize your chances of securing your appointment when supply becomes available.
Booking a Vaccine Appointment
If you are under 55, don't have health conditions outlined in the Governor's vaccination plan, and you've just become eligible as of April 19th, your chances of securing an appointment dramatically improve if you are willing to travel within Massachusetts.
For the best odds, we recommend doing two things:
- Get on the Massachusetts waiting list by pre-registering at vaccinesignup.mass.gov.
- Start looking for available appointments on vaxfinder.mass.gov.
Note: If you are an Islander, scroll further down to "Vaccination Locations on the Islands". With the exception of pre-registration, most of the process on the Islands operates differently than what's outlined below.
Instructions for Pre-Registration on Vaccinesignup.mass.gov
The supply of vaccines is ramping up, but there's still a waiting list for those who want one. Even if you're really eager to receive a dose and want to start combing through options for appointments, we still recommend getting on the waiting list to be notified of an appointment when it becomes available. You can start the process by visiting this link and following the prompts.
With preregistration, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- You'll fill out your name and contact information, and when an appointment becomes available at a mass vaccination "MassVax" site, you will be notified by your preferred contact method (phone call, text message, email, or some combination).
- You'll have 24 hours after receiving notification to accept or decline your appointment.
- You'll only be offered an appointment at a MassVax site. This is great for those who are willing to drive, but if you're looking for something closer, keep checking the county clinics and retail sites (CVS and Walgreens) for availability.
- You can't schedule a second dose via pre-registration. Once you get a first dose appointment, remember to ask the facility you'll be going to about how to schedule your second dose with them. Most MassVax sites will have this step built into their process, but we still recommend asking the provider when you arrive, just to be safe. You can find more information about second doses here.
- You can keep looking for appointments at sites that aren't MassVax sites. This will likely result in you securing your appointment faster. You aren't obligated to take an appointment at a MassVax site if you receive a notification that your turn has arrived, but you have an appointment booked elsewhere. As a courtesy to other residents, please take your name off of the pre-registration system if you've successfully scheduled your appointments elsewhere.
Instructions for Viewing Available Appointments at Vaxfinder.mass.gov
The image below shows what you'll see when you log in. Enter your ZIP code in the field marked by the red circle in the image below. In the case of our example, we've used the ZIP code for Hyannis.
The results will show a list of sites closest to the ZIP code you enter, but the state's site will always list the closest state-run mass vaccination site (MassVax) first, as we've indicated in the image by the green border. As you can see, the closest MassVax site to Cape Cod is in Dartmouth. These sites are currently only taking pre-registrants, meaning you can't schedule an appointment directly through this portal.
The rest of the results will descend in order of how close they are to the ZIP code you entered.
The Baker-Polito Administration's website does not collect data on the availability of appointments at the sites run by private companies.
That means you will need to select "DETAILS" next to each site that you are interested in and follow the prompts to see whether vaccines are available or not (in the interest of keeping the instructions as clear as possible, we've decided to remove the context and explain why at the bottom of the page, if you're interested). Checking each site can get very tedious, very quickly. If you find a site with vaccine, you'll have to follow the prompts to schedule your appointment.
Note: You may be tempted to check the box that we've circled in black in the image above to filter sites that only have confirmed doses. You are certainly welcome to try it and see, but based on what constituents have told us, you might find that it accidentally filters out sites that actually have vaccines because the Administration's site cannot confirm that they do or don't have any.
Instructions for Booking by Phone
If you do not have access to the internet, the Baker-Polito administration does have an option for residents to book via phone.
To begin, dial 2-1-1. Representatives are available to assist in both English and Spanish, and translators will be available to support residents in approximately 100 additional languages.
You can also dial toll free at (877) 211-6277. 2-1-1 is not available in some areas.
For those hard of hearing, you can access TTY at 508-370-4890.
Individuals ages 65 and older will be able to speak to a representative live on the phone to assist them with an appointment through the state’s online system. These representatives have the same access to appointments as on the public website; it will not give individuals access to additional appointments. If no appointments are available, callers will have the option to be placed on a call back list for the mass vaccination sites. The caller will receive a call back when an appointment becomes available for them at a mass vaccination site, and the list will be called on a first-come, first-served basis.
The line will be staffed from Monday to Friday, 8:30AM to 5PM.
Cape Cod Regional Vaccine Consortium
The Cape Cod Regional Vaccine Consortium is a collaboration among health care providers, county government, municipalities, and the legislative delegation on Cape Cod to deliver COVID-19 vaccine to the region’s residents.
Members consist of the following organizations. You can use the links to learn more about their vaccine appointments:
- Cape Cod Healthcare
- Outer Cape Health Services
- Community Health Center of Cape Cod
- Barnstable County Department of Health and the Environment
- Harbor Health Community Pharmacy
- Whole Health Pharmacy
Over the last two months, the Consortium has helped ensure that at least half of all Cape Codders received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, before the vaccine became available to the general public. In the early phase of the vaccine rollout, the most common complaint that our office received was that the "Black Friday"-style booking was leaving elderly and non-tech savvy homebound individuals without any options to book appointments.
The solution was to have our local providers reach out to vulnerable older adults and essential workers more proactively, working with town health agents to identify people who might need additional assistance.
It worked. As of the April 19th eligibility date, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket lead the state in the number of doses administered to residents as a share of their populations. It's an enormous feat, and we have our local providers to thank for the progress.
As of the April 19th, the Consortium is still working to make sure the thousands of people they reached are receiving second doses and that essential workers, particularly those who speak English as a second language or have limited internet access, receive their doses before they have to go back to work in close settings.
In the coming weeks, Consortium members will begin posting appointments for the general public, but as of April 19th, they still have high-need people they are attempting to reach and clinics operating strictly as second-dose clinics. Keep checking back for more information on these providers as their appointments go live.
Vaccination Locations on the Islands
Vaccination on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard is currently under the direction of Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Their websites continue to serve as the most up to date resources for Islanders attempting to book appointments. Information on how to schedule an appointment or confirm your eligibility is available on the COVID-19 vaccination pages at Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
Officials from Martha's Vineyard have confirmed that appointments for the following week are available for booking starting at 8AM on Saturday mornings. At that time, please follow this link to schedule your appointment.
On Nantucket, vaccine appointments become available when Nantucket Cottage Hospital receives its new dose shipments. The Hospital will announce when a new shipment arrives, at which point you can check this link to schedule.
The scheduling process will request demographic information, such as your name and age. In order to expedite the process, we suggest establishing a free Patient Gateway account, which both Islands currently offer. Using your username and password, you can store your demographic information, eliminating the need to re-enter it every time you visit the site. You can set up an account here.
Barnstable County Vaccine Helpline
If you are in Barnstable County, the Barnstable County Department of Health and the Environment has set up a hotline number that residents can call with questions about vaccine availability or booking: (774) 330-3001.
On February 3, 2021, the Cape Cod COVID-19 Response Task Force hosted a telephone briefing to residents of Barnstable County, where we discussed all available information pertaining to vaccines at that time. 13,000 Cape Codders and Islanders joined the call. You can listen via the video below.
Many of these links will take you to public-facing sites maintained by the Commonwealth and Barnstable County.
- BarnstableCountyHealth.org includes all of the most recent information on Cape Cod vaccinations.
- Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Information
- Latest Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Update
- COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Timeline: Phase Overview
- When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts?
- Requirements for Each Vaccine-Eligible Priority Group
- COVID-19 Massachusetts Vaccination Attestation Form
- COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
CDC Comorbidity Conditions (applicable in Phase 2)
- Important note: To be included in the vaccine prioritization of “individuals with 2+ comorbidities,” individuals must have at least 2 CDC-defined comorbidity conditions listed as at increased risk for severe illness
- Email questions/concerns about the vaccine distribution plan to [email protected]
- CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do sites have such different requirements to book, depending on where you go?
The Commonwealth is relying on a patchwork of providers to deliver vaccines, and each were able to exact concessions from the Baker-Polito administration and the federal government around how appointments are scheduled. This is why each requires a different portal and may ask residents different questions as they book. Barnstable County’s public vaccine clinics are provided for residents of Cape Cod’s 15 towns and staffed by the County government. Private sites include entities such as CVS, Walgreens and Stop & Shop and are offered to eligible candidates state-wide. They are available, but may have additional requirements or request different information from visitors than the public sites.
Can I get on a waitlist for local clinics?
To receive notifications for when vaccines are available, visit BarnstableCountyHealth.org and enter your email address in the pop-up box that resembles the one below. This will not reserve you a spot, but it will allow you to be notified 24 hours before clinics are able to start scheduling appointments when new vaccines arrive in the County.
My friends and family who live in other states and have less health issues than I do have already been vaccinated and are already receiving their second dose in some cases. Why?
The Governors of each state were given the power to set the parameters of vaccinating residents. Who is eligible and how appointments are scheduled will vary a lot with geography. Shipments of vaccine and allocations for each region are decided by the federal government. Barnstable County health officials are ready to deliver shots in arms the moment shipments of vaccines arrive, and we are greatly aided by the freezer capacity to store either of the two major versions of the vaccine. The limiting factor here is supply being heavily outpaced by demand.
I was eligible before April 19th, but still couldn't get an appointment to be vaccinated before the general public became eligible. Can I still try to schedule an appointment?
Yes, clinics offered to the general public are also open to people who qualified previoiusly.
My legal residence is elsewhere, but I've been using my second home throughout the entire pandemic. Can I be vaccinated on Cape Cod, or will I have to return to wherever my legal primary residence is?
If you are a snowbird or otherwise staying in the region for an extended period of time and you are otherwise eligible under the state guidelines, you are welcome to receive your vaccines in Barnstable County. Please provide your Cape Cod address when registering.
I am unable to walk or stand long, so how do I find a drive-through clinic?
Clinic details are listed on the state’s vaccine distribution map, as well as on our website. Most of our clinics are drive-through.