Following complaints about its vaccine appointment scheduling website, Massachusetts announced that it is launching a new vaccine finder website on Friday.
The new tool — vaxfinder.mass.gov — is now live, and state health officials said it will make booking vaccine appointments much easier.
It shows vaccine sites and appointment availability all on one page, or you can search by city or town. It is not a centralized booking system; you still have to click through to the main vaccination site and book an appointment on the individual portals.
All of the mass vaccination sites are listed, along with some local boards of health and other smaller sites. Not every vaccination site is up yet. State health officials said they will be working to add more over the next few weeks. More locations will also be added as the tool improves.
The state's new tool looks a lot like the one Olivia Adams, a software developer and mother of two young kids, built on her own.
Adams met with state officials after NBC10 Boston brought her version to Gov. Charlie Baker's attention, and she does not plan on taking it down.
"I don't want to say, 'Oh, well, the state has it, so I'm going to be hands-off,'" Adams said. "I want to still help as much as I can."
Development of the new site started after the launch of Phase 2 of the state's vaccination program, when the state was flooded with complaints about its vaccination scheduling website.
When it first launched last month, lawmakers, experts and residents all criticized Massachusetts' vaccination rollout, calling on the state to fix what they said was a cumbersome and confusing sign-up process.
One lawmaker even filed legislation that would direct the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to create a one-stop online sign-up for vaccinations accessible from desktop computer as well as mobile devices.
“The Phase 2 vaccine rollout is creating mass confusion and anxiety for our eligible senior population," said state Sen. Eric Lesser, who sponsored the bill. "The system is cumbersome, contradictory, and asks residents over 75 to navigate a haze of web links, locations, and instructions, each with different criteria and scheduling systems."
A week ago, Massachusetts launched a new hotline aimed at helping those 75 and older who are trying to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment and are having trouble navigating the state’s vaccine website.
Those 75 and older can connect with a hotline operator by dialing 2-1-1 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Operators won’t have any special access to appointments, but will walk individuals through the same state website available to the public to help them make an appointment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.