Mass. Spent $438K On the Vaccine Website That Crashed

Massachusetts spent nearly a half a million dollars on the vaccine booking website that crashed last week

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Gov. Charlie Baker is due to testify before a committee of lawmakers this week after his administration admitted the state's vaccine booking website, which crashed last week, cost nearly a half a million dollars.

Baker will go before the legislature's COVID-19 and Emergency Management and Preparedness Committee on Thursday at an oversight hearing probing the state's beleaguered vaccine rollout.

One area that panel could delve into is the latest major bump in the rollout process, which occurred when Massachusetts' Vaxfinder signup website crashed Thursday as 1 million more people became eligible to get the vaccine.

The state spent a total of $438,531 in its contract with the Maryland-based software company PrepMod, which took responsibility for the crash last week of the vaccine-booking website, according to the State House News Service.

Lawmakers continue to raise questions about the state's technology, the lack of ability to preregister for a shot and the decision to stop distributing vaccine to local clinics in favor of high-capacity vaccination sites.

The Massachusetts vaccination finder website was "experiencing technical difficulties," Thursday morning as about one million people became newly eligible to get the vaccine for the first time.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and officials with the Department of Public Health have also agreed to go before the committee. The committee invited Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, Assistant Public Health Commissioner Jana Ferguson and Assistant Public Health Commissioner and Director of the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences Kevin Cranston.

In addition, the chairs of three other committees -- Health Care Financing, Public Health, and Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion -- have been asked to assemble expert panels to present to the oversight committee.

Massachusetts' position with respect to other states has been rapidly improving as the supply of vaccine coming into the state has increased and as the state has opened up its eligibility criteria to include more of the population.

Two new mass vaccinations sites are set to open this week in Natick and Dartmouth, and according to the Centers for Disease Control the state ranked 15th in the country for doses administered per capita and 11th for people with at least one dose per capita.

State House News Service
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