COVID

After hearing complaints, Arlington woman creates centralized vaccine website

“I was surprised at how decentralized everything was and how there were a thousand different sites to go to."

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Olivia Adams of Arlington may be home taking care of a toddler and a newborn while on maternity leave, but in her short windows of free time — that’s while her youngest sleeps — she has created a website that has pooled Massachusetts vaccine appointment information all together in one place.

It was after hearing her mother-in-law, a dental hygienist, describe how difficult it was to sign up for a vaccine appointment when she became eligible at the end of the state’s Phase 1 — and after she went through the same arduous process when trying to sign her father up for his vaccine when he qualified in Phase 2 — that she decided to take on the project, Adams told Alisyn Camerota of CNN’s “New Day.”

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“I was surprised at how decentralized everything was and how there were a thousand different sites to go to,” she said. “And I thought how can I put my software skills to use to make this better in my free time?”

It took Adams about 40 hours over a three-week span to make the site, she told CNN. Adams explained that she works in web development for Athenahealth, which creates electronic health care records. But this was her first foray into building her own “complicated” website.

“The hardest part about it is that every website that has availability information, I have to kind of tell my computer how to read that website like a human, and so that’s where all of the man hours went in,” Adams said.

On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker said he’d like to speak with Adams after being asked about the website during a press conference.

As of when she spoke with CNN Monday morning, Adams said she hadn’t heard from Baker’s administration yet, but she hoped to. She’s received emails from people in other states hoping she will bring her website-building skills there.

“So on Friday I would’ve told you absolutely not, there’s no way I have the time to do that,” she said. “But now the support has just been overwhelming, and there’s clearly such a need. I already have people emailing me from other states asking if this can be done where they’re at. I’d love to explore that, and we’ll just see how it goes.”

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Adams began a GoFundMe to help pay for the costs of running the site. Updates indicate that she’s increased the funding goal several times. As of around 3:15 p.m. Monday, it had raised over $23,500 toward a $50,000 goal.

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