Olivia Adams is a developer and second-time mom who spent her free time during her maternity leave building a website that makes it easier for folks to sign up for COVID-19 shots.
As states across the country begin their COVID-19 vaccination drives, access to information has been a major roadblock for several individuals particularly those who are unable to navigate online systems. In light of this, new mother Olivia Adams decided to do something. Putting her developer skills to good use, she created a website to view vaccine sign-up information that was easier to use than the one developed by her state, Massachusetts. The most amazing part of this entire endeavor was that she developed the website right after she gave birth while on maternity leave. The website has since been praised for how simple it is to navigate, CNN reports.
Want to know more about @livgust - the Arlington mom / software developer trying to simplify the vaccine sign up process for MA? More of my interview with her in our @NBC10Boston story here! https://t.co/waXQ25wEYc— Abbey Niezgoda NBC10 Boston (@AbbeyNBCBoston) February 6, 2021
Adams' website, macovidvaccines.com, pulls in vaccination appointments from across the state, including from government websites and those operated by private businesses. She spent an estimated three weeks and about 40 hours building the website, all while caring for her two-month-old son. "I thought I'd take a look and I was surprised at how decentralized everything was and how there are a thousand different websites to go to," she said in an interview with the news outlet. "I thought, 'How can I put my software skills to use to make this better in my free time?'"
Olivia Adams built a vaccine website for Massachusetts while on maternity leave.— New Day (@NewDay) February 8, 2021
"I was surprised at how decentralized everything was and how there were a thousand different websites ... I thought, 'how can I put my software skills to use to make this better in my free time?'" pic.twitter.com/eVa7SL2PTm
The newborn is her second son. With her first, a two-year-old, off to daycare in the morning, Adams used the time that her two-month-old spent sleeping in order to work on the website. She was inspired to launch the website when she discovered how difficult it was for her mother-in-law, a dental hygienist who qualified for the first phase of vaccinations, to sign up for an appointment to get the vaccine. The developer explained, "She had a little trouble figuring out where to go and how to get signed up. She was able to do it, but it took a little while, and then she had the same problem when she was able to sign her father up when he became eligible at the beginning of our phase two."
https://t.co/4oyeTvO97a will temporarily point to https://t.co/QQ9ksYmNYu. If you have trouble with the former still, try the latter. Still waiting for @AWSSupport to determine root cause of the issue so I set up the backup site. Thanks for your patience!#covidma #covidvaccine https://t.co/Nl62H831p4— Olivia Adams (@livgust) February 9, 2021
Of course, Adams' mother-in-law is not the only one who struggled to find an appointment. Folks across the state as well as the country have had similar challenges, especially senior citizens who are not well-versed with complex digital devices and websites. Many have remained on the phone for hours or have had to log on multiple times to find that there were no appointments available. As a lead member of the technical staff at Athenahealth, a health care technology company, Adams saw a way for her to put her technical skills to good use once she surveyed Massachusetts' online vaccine portal.
UPDATE: @MassGovernor says they have taken a look at @livgust’s website since I first asked him about it on Friday. He tells me improvements to the state’s site are coming. @NBC10Boston @necn https://t.co/MPdqKsVhQn— Abbey Niezgoda NBC10 Boston (@AbbeyNBCBoston) February 8, 2021
While she had some experience, this was a difficult task even for her. "This was my first time making a complicated website myself," she said. "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. That's where all the man-hours went in." After all the hours of work, her effort has definitely paid off. Not only has she been contacted by the state's Coronavirus Command Center, but Adams has also been able to help dozens of folks in Massachusetts. She stated, "I already have people from other states emailing me asking if this can be done where they're at. I'd love to explore that and we'll just see how it goes. I encourage anyone who thinks they have a half-baked idea to go full force and they'll be surprised how well it turns out. I built it for everyone but I didn't think everyone would use it."
Thank you @livgust for building this! https://t.co/RPMe2YoCkM https://t.co/p1hCtukWuS #COVID19 #CovidVaccine— 😺 🗣 Wear A Mask ✌️👍 (@itsmejono) February 8, 2021