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Working mum develops COVID-19 vaccination database in Tokyo

Published on 01/07/21 at 09:44am

A 36-year-old former English teacher living in Tokyo, Japan, has launched her own healthcare database, Find a Doc, helping non-Japanese speaking people find clinics with COVID-19 vaccine doses to spare after cancellations from prioritised elderly patients.

The database, which went live on June 13, quickly grew from just two clinics to almost 70 with information in 19 languages.

LaShawn Toyoda saw increasing confusion in her social media feeds among non-Japanese speakers about how they could get a COVID-19 vaccine, which gave her the idea to use her recent intensive coding course knowledge to help ease concerns amid a lack of clear direction from officials.

Speaking the Reuters, she said: "There was no news available in any language other than Japanese about when they would be able to get vaccinated, how they could get vaccinated or where. I told my husband, 'watch our daughter, I gotta make something'."

The need for the site underscores the nervous public mood in Japan amid a sluggish vaccination campaign. Vaccination rollouts were particularly slow in Tokyo, where the Olympics Games are due to begin in less than a month.

Toyoda reskilled after the school she was teaching at part time shut down during a state of emergency in the capital last year and now works as an engineer at an American enterprise software firm. She booked her own first vaccine shot through a clinic on her database last week.

The site has received wide support, with more experienced programmers from Alphabet Inc's Google, Mercari, and Amazon volunteering to add features and make it more secure.

Kat Jenkins

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