Olivia Adams ’14 MEng ’15 saw a problem: people in Massachusetts were having a difficult time signing up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments. So, she built a solution.
Adams created the website macovidvaccines.com to make it easier for MA residents to find and book appointments. The website compiles appointment availability from vaccination sites across the state, which each have their own webpage, into one easy-to-use platform that refreshes automatically.
“The hardest part is that for each website that you’re trying to grab information from, you have to tell the computer exactly how to read that website,” Adams explains. “It’s not as easy as a human looking at it. You look at a table and you know how to read it, but a computer just sees a bunch of letters and has no idea what to do with that information, so you have to train it.”
Although Adams never expected the site to take off as quickly or widely as it has, she’s grateful that it has already been able to help people. She says her next goal is to make the website more complete, adding in information from more vaccination sites across the state. She notes that she is making most of her code open source, so other people can contribute to making the site easier to use and quicker to update.