The headline of the week in Massachusetts has been, once again, about COVID-19. No surprise there; the virus has dominated the headlines for a solid year now.

Everyone in Massachusetts, though, has been scrambling to book an appointment for the COVID vaccine. If they aren't looking to book a vaccine appointment for themselves, they are looking to book it for older relatives and friends.

If the demand wasn't high enough for the 75-and-older crowd, moving the eligibility down to 65-plus nearly broke the internet yesterday, literally crashing the infrastructure of the state's website for hours.

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I was able to not only book my mom's first dose, which she got yesterday, but also a follow-up dose for next month. As someone who managed to navigate the complicated system, here are a few tips:

Use a Laptop or Desktop Computer

The website is clunky, to put it kindly. Use a laptop. You don't want to be fumbling around on your phone trying to fill out the complicated forms and flipping back and forth between different locations that may or may not have openings. Keep it simple with an actual computer.

Focus on the Big, Mass Vaccination Sites

Don't waste your time trying to land a vaccine at one of the smaller neighborhood pharmacies or the ones distributed by towns. There just aren't enough to go around at these types of places and they are usually already accounted for. Agree with him or not, Governor Charlie Baker has made it clear that the focus is going to be on getting the vaccine doses to mass vaccination sites like Gillette Stadium or Fenway Park. Smaller distribution (relatively speaking), like the ones we saw at Dartmouth High School or at SouthCoast Health locations, will no longer be the priority. Period. You'll have better luck trying to land an appointment at Gillette.

Be Patient

It's super easy to get frustrated with a website as clunky as the state vaccine site.

Don't Be in a Rush

I'd suggest signing onto the website when you aren't in a hurry and you have nothing else to do. If you don't find anything after 20-30 minutes, take a break and come back in a few hours.

Sign On During "Off-Peak" Hours

Try it late at night as the last thing you do before bed. Do you get up early in the morning to walk the dog? Wake up a few minutes earlier and try to see if you can find an appointment.

Have Vital Information Ready

If you are trying to get an appointment for a relative, make sure you have their insurance information, their birthdate, and their vital health information, such as if they had COVID and when.

Think About the Email Address You Enter

You may want to enter your email if you will be the point person for the visit. If you will not be accompanying the person to the appointment, you might want to enter the email address of someone who will be there. They may need to show the email to enter the building for the vaccine.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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