Saturday, July 03, 2021

Make Getting a Vaccination Should be as Easy as Ordering a Pizza

It is more than a year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency in Australia. Federal and state governments have spent billions of dollars on health measures, but are still unable to field an easy to use online vaccination booking system. I suggest modelling this on the ease of use, and sophistication, of a pizza ordering system. Some years ago I ordered a pizza online for collection. The system took my details and presented pizza options. It then listed the nearest places I could collect it. What was impressive was the system then asked my means of transport and estimated when I should leave to get there just in time. I left at the time suggested, and as I walked through the door of the pizza parlor, my order popped on an electronic display indicating it was ready. I picked it up and was out the door in under a minute. It should be possible to do something similar for vaccinations.

A responsive online vaccination booking system would instill confidence in the public and increase the efficiency and safety of the vaccination process. Removing long queues at vaccination centers will decrease staffing to manage the crowd and also reduce the risk of spread of infection. All of the information the patient needs should be able to collected online and them arrive with a QR code ready to be scanned and jabbed.

An efficient online vaccination system could prevent tens of thousands of deaths, by speeding up vaccination and preventing mass breakouts of COVID-19. This could also decrease the risk of mental illness and death, due to the suffering brought about by lock-downs and unemployment, particularly of younger people. This places such systems in the category of "safety critical", requiring a higher level of care in design, testing and deployment by computer professionals.

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