BOSTON — Not long after the state opened vaccine eligibility to almost a million additional residents, the Vaxfinder website where you go to find an appointment crashed.
So did PrepMod, the website which is the actual signup portal.
A day after the CEO of the Maryland nonprofit PrepMod took full responsibility, she realized she didn’t need to.
“Our site definitely had issues and we have we accept full responsibility for that and we’ve been working to make sure that people don’t experience that anymore, but we did notice the octopus with the question mark wasn’t isn’t our error message,” said Tiffany Tate, PrepMod CEO.
Instead, it was from the state’s Vaxfinder page. If you look at the bottom of it, you’ll notice who runs it. It says “powered by Project Beacon.”
We reached out to this company, but have not received a response.
25 investigates asked the state about Project Beacon and if anyone else may be to blame for the crashes. We didn’t get a clear answer. A state representative told us:
“All of yesterday’s website problems were unacceptable and the Administration has acknowledged responsibility for the outages that frustrated many residents. Despite the website issues, the appointments at mass vaccination sites were all booked for the week and today the website has been functioning for residents accessing the platforms. The administration is evaluating more options to improve the website but will not have additional details to provide at this time.”
But the question remains, who else needs to take responsibility so that the next time more vaccines are made available, the websites won’t continue crashing?
Prepmod’s CEO says with software, it’s unlikely you’ll ever have a flawless experience.
“This software isn’t perfect,” said Tate. “So if you were trying to get tickets to a Beyonce concert sure, you would click the button and you’re not going to get through sometimes because everyone’s trying to get through to Beyonce.”
And right now the vaccines are arguably as popular as Beyonce, so she says if you click on it the first time and it doesn’t work you just have to keep trying again. She says her site was used to about 1,000 hits per minute and yesterday, it was getting 70,000 hits per minute.
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