EXPLAINER: Meet the vaccine appointment bots, and their foes

Having trouble booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment online? You’re not alone. To cope, some people have turned to bots that scan websites and send alerts when slots open up. Bots provide relief to people struggling to score appointments. But not all public health officials are fans. Some say they give even more of an advantage to tech-savvy people. One Massachusetts clinic canceled appointments after learning that out-of-towners used a bot to scoop them up. Health officials are putting in measures to prevent the use of bots, and say phone scheduling is available if people can’t navigate the websites.