Balancing a new software programming job and caring for a toddler in Tokyo, LaShawn Toyoda saw increasing confusion in her social media feeds among non-Japanese speakers about how they could get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The 36-year-old, a former English teacher who had recently completed an intensive coding course as part of a pandemic-prompted career change, decided she had the skills to help ease concerns amid a lack of clear direction from officials.
"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," said Toyoda, who moved from Maryland in the United States to Tokyo a decade ago.
"I told my husband, 'watch our daughter, I gotta make something."
Hours later, Toyoda launched her database Find a Doc https://www.findadoc.jp, a health database that helps 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.