By Christina Hager

BOSTON (CBS) – Some of the countless technical minds in Massachusetts are working independently to help solve the latest problems with getting vaccination appointments.

The process has been so problematic lately, it’s scaring some away. “I haven’t tried,” said Mike Smith, who lives near the mass vaccination site at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. “I myself thought I’d just wait,” said Nany Shapiro of Norfolk.

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One man in Somerville says he can help. Web developer Dan Cahoon created a Twitter account called @vaccinetime. “It’s kind of similar to if you were sitting there yourself hitting refresh on the page over and over, looking for the appointments to show up, but instead of having to do that, you can subscribe to this Twitter bot and get notified,” he explained. When an appointment comes online anywhere in the state, users get a message with a link.

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Another web developer, Olivia Adams in Arlington, came up with her own user-friendly website macovidvaccines.com to help people find appointments. She watched, as the state’s vaccine websites crashed Thursday morning under the onslaught of newly eligible residents trying to log in at once.

Asked whether it’s possible to prevent another fiasco when the next phase of residents joins in, she said there are clear solutions. “The way that modern web architecture works now is that you can plug into services from, Google or Amazon are the two big services, and they will take on a lot of the work to say, ‘when your website is jammed with traffic, we’ll make sure that we add more servers and more of that back-end hardware that you need to run a website, so that we can handle all of that traffic,'” Adams explained.

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Adams spoke with the state’s COVID Response Command Center last week, and Cahoon says he’d be happy to offer his Twitter bot in a partnership with the state. Residents hope that sort of brain-power will make a difference. “Anything they can do to make it more accessible to people,” said Sasha Gunther, who lives in Waltham. “I think It’s awesome.”

Christina Hager