After the national epidemic alert was raised May 19 to Level 3, the public dilligently complied with guidelines over the next two months. Starting June 25, Taiwan’s new daily confirmed cases dropped to double-digits. By mid-July, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced a number of easing measures to minimize public fatigue. This is widely seen as step toward preparing for a possible lifting of the alert in the coming weeks.

The most important factor for quickly returning to everyday life is vaccination. According to expert assessments, the effect of herd immunity is attained when at least 60 to 70 percent of the public are vaccinated. In order to maximize vaccination rate, we have worked with local governments to co-create the “1922 Vaccine Appointment System (VAS)”.

There are four steps in the 1922 VAS: Registration, Notification, Appointment, and Vaccination.

Anyone over 18 can visit and enter their national ID/resident certificate number, national health insurance card number, mobile phone number, choose the district they wish to be vaccinated in, as well as types of vaccine they are willing to receive. As soon as their age and qualifications are met, and the number of vaccines nominated is sufficient, they will receive an SMS message from 1922.

Registration of willingness is particularly useful in Taiwan, as there are currently two different types of vaccines: AstraZeneca (AZ) and Moderna, with subsequent doses arriving at different times. By registering, the public can play an invaluable role in enabling the platform to accurately assess willingness and ensure effective allocation of available vaccines in a timely manner.

Most importantly, the order of registration does not affect the order of vaccination. As long as the registration of matching vaccine type is completed by a person of the qualified age, they are eligible for an appointment in the next week. This design is to avoid affecting the rights of those unfamiliar with Internet usage. If the registration order is followed, it would favor those more knowledgeable with digital tools. Therefore, when 1922 sends appointment notifications, it instead follows the principle of seniority and arrange the order of vaccinations based on the year of birth.

From the very beginning, we included resident certificates as identification. Foreigners, legal migrants and new immigrants with a National Health Insurance (NHI) card can get vaccinated by registering on the platform with resident certificate and health insurance card numbers. Even foreigners who do not have an NHI card can authenticate with TaipeiPASS and register their willingness when it is their turn.

In addition to the arrival of vaccines ordered by the government, we also received generous gifts from real friends around the world. This included 2.5 million Moderna doses donated by the U.S. government, three shipments of AZ doses totaling 3.37 million donated by the Japanese government, 20,000 doses donated by the Lithuanian government, and 10,000 doses donated by the Slovak government. This largesse is deeply appreciated, and will help Taiwan make a fast-tracked return to everyday life.

A vaccination appointment platform taking into consideration digital equality, the willingness of the people and the human rights of foreigners is a concrete realization of how Taiwan ensures that the kindness of real friends is put to proper use — for the benefit of all.