Call center coming soon for vaccine appointments, but state has no plans to centralize online registration for now

A call center is in the works for people who can’t access online registration for coronavirus vaccine appointments, but Gov. Charlie Baker is resisting growing calls to set up a central online system.

The delay is prompting lawmakers to take action as a patchwork system continues to spur a scheduling “debacle.”

“We are asking people to have a little patience here because even as we add capacity, there are currently somewhere around a million people — plus or minus — in Massachusetts who are eligible to get vaccinated,” Baker said during a press conference in Plymouth.

“We did the math … it will take a little while,” the governor said.

But Beacon Hill lawmakers said the time for patience has passed and filed emergency legislation that would mandate a single centralized online registration system and would do away with “cumbersome” third-party websites.

“It’s a debacle,” state Sen. Eric Lesser told the Herald. “When we should be having mass vaccinations, instead we’re having mass confusion.”

Lesser, D-Longmeadow, filed the bill alongside Sens. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, and Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, that would create a “one-stop online sign-up” for vaccines and establish a 24/7 phone hotline in multiple languages.

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