Over 60, grocery workers, and others eligible for vaccines

Sign-ups to continue Monday at 5 pm.

COVID-19 vaccines -Jeremy Driesen


Eligibility for vaccines expanded Monday with individuals aged 60 and over, workers in transit, grocery stores, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works, and public health workers now able to sign up.

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital will open its sign-up portal at 5 pm Monday for another round of appointments for March 25, 26, and 27. On Saturday, March 27, eligible individuals can sign up at 8 am for appointments on March 30 and 31.

The next eligible cohort will be on April 5 for individuals aged 55 and over, and those with one chronic health condition. The general public, 16 and older, becomes eligible on April 19, according to the plan announced by Gov. Charlie Baker last week.

Sign-ups for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital filled up in 10 minutes Saturday morning with 81 first dose appointments made for March 22, 23, and 24.

In addition to the first dose appointments, the hospital has 838 second dose appointments scheduled for this week.

Martha’s Vineyard has seen a significant drop in confirmed cases of COVID-19 since highs in new cases at the beginning of the year. The Island averaged one case of COVID-19 per day for the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts advanced to step one of phase four Monday. The new phase allows sports venues such as Fenway Park and TD Garden to reopen with limited capacities. Restrictions on out-of-state travel are also reduced particularly with those who have been vaccinated.

Boards of health weekly report

The Martha’s Vineyard Boards of health reported nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the week of March 14 to March 20.

Of the nine cases from the hospital, seven were symptomatic and two were asymptomatic. There were also three new probable cases reported.

The boards of health have switched to publishing a weekly COVID-19 report. There have been more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases on Martha’s Vineyard since the pandemic began a year ago — 949 confirmed cases and 58 probable positives.

The Vineyard reported the majority of its confirmed cases last fall with 191 cases in November and 235 cases in December. The previous monthly highs were 32 cases in October and 18 in July.

In total, there have been 949 confirmed positive results on the Island — 467 males and 482 females. There have also been 58 probable cases — 32 male and 26 female. There have been 351 cases — 37 percent of the total — that have been linked to at least one other case. In most instances those involved family members or small social groups. The Island has had five clusters, including an October wedding (8 cases), Cronig’s Market (19 cases), a Bible study group (11 cases), MV Hospital (5 cases), and Project Headway (4 cases).

The hospital has now administered 14,889 tests, with 673 positive results. There have been 14,174 negative tests and there are 34 results pending. 

Meanwhile, TestMV, which is located in the parking lot at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, has now administered 35,010 tests, with 260 positive results, 34,432 negative results, and 318 tests pending.

The town of Aquinnah has conducted 442 tests, of which one has come back positive, 441 negative, with no pending results.

The Martha’s Vineyard public schools have administered 7,795 tests. Of those, four have tested positive. The public school data is updated once a week on Mondays, and for the third week in a row there were no new cases in the schools.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has reported a total of seven positive cases of COVID-19.

Due to how tests are conducted, there can be a discrepancy between the number of positive individuals and the number of positive tests reported.

Updated with the report from the Island boards of health.



  1. I am happy that people are getting vaccinated and am not particularly concerned about my health even though I am over 60 and volunteer to deliver food to the elderly. However, my experience, and those of several others, on Saturday and just now, has been inconsistent with what is on the website and what has been reported in this article. At no time prior to, at exactly the stated time or several minutes after are there any appointments available. Can someone ask whoever is in charge to please just tell us how the appointment system really works so we don’t have to waste our time?

  2. I tried for over 15 minutes starting right at 5 pm to log on for an appointment and each time (could not even get to the id stage) I was told the appointments had already been filled – would it be possible to create a registry much like the State has done so that you can pre-load all your information in and then you are notified when an appointment is available.
    It would make for a much less aggravating process

    • I had the same experience on Monday as did other friends of mine. I started at 4:59 and tried until about 5:20 with no change in the message: “sorry, there are no appointments available at this time.” Your suggestion is a good reasonable one. I hope someone is listening!

  3. I spent 36 minutes on Saturday morning, starting at 7:59, trying to get an appointment, to no avail. Tried again on Monday afternoon, with the same result. I spoke with a friend who finally wrangled one after 3 Saturdays, by having 3 different devices loading at the same time! Let the games begin.

  4. Ted- understand that there are a limited number of appointments available at any given time.
    The website is designed so that it will not crash. like the steamship system, there are only so many phone lines available– if they are all engaged, you get a busy signal.. try again– and again, and eventually you will get put on hold, and eventually you will be able to book your reservation.
    As far as I can tell, it’s a combination of luck and patience.
    Here’s my experience:
    Keep trying…

    • My point is that some more information would actually help. For example, at 5 seconds after 5 pm, the system reported “no appointments available at this time”. Does that mean that all the appointments are actually taken and you should wait another day? or is it clunky way of protecting the system from crashing and you should continue to try? When appointments are released, the exact time and number available should be on the website, so one could decide whether to bother. When all appointments are truly filled, the website could also be updated so people don’t keep clicking their brains out for 35 minutes when the appointments were gone in 10. Are they going to open up appointments for the next cohort when so many in the previous cohort have not been vaccinated? How many people do we estimate to be eligible island-wide? It seems doubtful that many people would come from off-island given the ferry, the slow pace of vaccination here and the better alternatives off island. Therefore the numbers would be estimatible and probably within the capacity of a modern computer and software. The pre-registration system seems very transparent and user friendly, its unclear why something similar has not been adopted here. Clearly everyone is trying their best and supply is less than demand. A little more information might take some of the anxiety out of the process and save some wasted effort.

    • Don, if you’re logging in by computer (as opposed to phone), you don’t get a busy signal. You get a screen that says no appointments are available — even when there are. Three times I got a screen that told me I already had an appointment, which I didn’t. I agree that “it’s a combination of luck and patience,” but my experience doesn’t resemble any experience I’ve ever had with the SSA.

  5. I, and several people I know , had exactly the same experience. I understand that there is limited vaccine , but I don’t understand how ALL appointments can be gone by 8:00 or 5:00?? The hospital has done a great job of explaining the vaccine process and procedures until this point. I hope they will share with the public what is currently happening. How limited is the supply ? How can all appointments be taken at the moment the portal opens ? Does the link actually go live a few minutes before 8:00 or 5:00? Just some answers would be much appreciated, MVH.

    • Aha! See the article in “the other paper.” It explains why there were so few appointments available.

  6. The sign-up process is ridiculous. I’m reasonably cyber-savvy, so I knew enough to keep refreshing my screen and/or backing up and starting over, but three times I was confronted by a screen that told me I already had an appointment, which was not true. When I was finally offered an appointment, it was in the middle of a meeting I was supposed to be at, but you bet I took it.

    The good news is that the intake and vaccination process at MVH was *flawless*. Kudos to everyone involved. I was so impressed. I got my shot. I signed up for follow-up texts from the CDC, which came every afternoon for a week. Other than some very, very minor discomfort in the first 24 hours, I had no side effects at all. I’m looking forward to my 2nd shot on April 3 — and I’m grateful that I don’t have to sign up again.

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