In January 2021, the Netherlands started their COVID-19 vaccination program. The program was troubled by the start. A lot of it due to unclear communication. There were dozens of exclusions and inclusions of special interest groups, getting priority for a shot. This meant that the largest group of people, those who were eligible for vaccination because of their year of birth, had trouble finding out if it was ‘their turn’. When I told my dad that he was up for his jab because ‘I read that somewhere on Twitter’ I knew something had to be done.
The one question that was on everybody’s lips was simple: ‘Can I?’. In Dutch: “Mag ik al?”. I decided to register the domain name magikal.nl, and turning it into a resource that only serves a single purpose. To display the current year of birth that is up for vaccination. The only other features were a counter that showed the number of given COVID shots in real time, and a tool to provide an approximation of when you’re up for a jab, based on your year of birth.
In three months over 35.000 people visited the website and used it on social media to inform other people that it was their turn to get vaccinated. That the domain ‘magikal’ sounds a bit like ‘magical’ was a coincidence, albeit a happy one. It’s pretty magical that in less than twelve months after the first people got sick by this novel virus, science already had an answer.