Boston Herald – The state’s Vaxfinder website — whose failure last month prompted that ubiquitous octopus graphic — is powered by a tool that could cost up to $250,000.

“If it actually helps speed shots into arms, that’s a price I’ll take,” state Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, said. “But that’s an awful lot of money to pay for a picture of an octopus.”

After technical glitches plagued vaccine signups for those ages 75-plus on Jan. 27 and drew sharp criticism, the state inked an emergency contract with Project Beacon on Feb. 1 for a maximum of $250,000 for an online “scraper platform” that would find and amalgamate open appointments scattered across various providers’ websites.

The tool was first used internally at the state’s call center for vaccine appointments, which launched on Feb. 5 to help connect seniors to shots. The state pays $10,000 a month for its use by the call center, according to contracts provided to the Herald.

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