TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Mexican-Canadian YouTuber on Wednesday (May 5) uploaded a video that explains how foreigners can apply for COVID-19 vaccination.
On April 21, Taiwan launched a self-paid vaccination program for the AstraZeneca vaccine for Taiwan residents, including foreigners. Initially, 10,000 doses were made available for NT$600 (US$21) per shot, but another 10,000 shots were added on April 27 due to strong demand.
Ostensibly, the shots, available at 31 designated hospitals, were meant for those who need to travel abroad for business, work, education, medical treatment, and other humanitarian reasons. However, it does not appear these requirements are currently being enforced, according to the accounts of foreigners who have recently received a jab.
On Wednesday, YouTuber Ivan Quintana, who together with his Indonesian wife Elisabet Sipayung run the Youtube channel Elisa & Ivan Adventure, posted a video explaining how to apply for the self-paid shots. In the video, Quintana starts out by explaining that the first thing applicants need to do is go to the official CDC self-paid vaccine registration page.
Once on the registration page, one can see a list of all the participating hospitals along with their addresses. In Quintana's case, he chose the Ton-Yen General Hospital in Hsinchu County's Zhubei, where he lives.
The next step is to click on the link "appointment URL" (預約網址) under the hospital of choice. The page warns applicants to, among other things, postpone getting the vaccine if they have had certain other vaccines within the past 14 to 28 days.
Ivan Quintana and wife Elisabet Sipayung. (Ivan Quintana photo)
Fees for the vaccination and hospital registration are listed. Dates and times when vaccines can be received are listed on a table on the page. Interfaces will vary with each hospital, but look for the term "register" in Chinese (掛號) and click on the hyperlink on or next to it.
Time slots should appear, often listing the name of the attending physician. To make a reservation with that particular physician, click on their name.
A list of days and times should then appear. If a time slot is already fully booked, it will appear in red.
If the timeframe is still shown in black, click on it and either scroll to the bottom of the page or wait to be redirected to a new page. Foreign registrants will then need to input their ARC or NHI card number, check the box that they are a foreigner (if it appears), enter the pin or verification number displayed, and type in their mobile phone number.
After filling in all the fields, click the register (掛號) button. The registration information will then appear, and it is advisable to click the print button at the bottom. If no such button is visible, print the screen to present to hospital staff on the day of the appointment.
Quintana's appointment is slated for two weeks from now. However, a number of other foreigners have already gotten self-paid shots.
Tobie Openshaw's NHI card with sticker documenting his COVID-19 vaccination. (Tobie Openshaw photo)
South African photographer and documentary filmmaker Tobie Openshaw said that when he received the shot on Tuesday (May 4), he was not required to provide proof that he is traveling abroad in the near future. When asked about the process, he described it as "very smooth. They have got it down."
Openshaw added that the nurse was highly skilled at delivering the injection. "I didn't even feel the needle." After he received the jab, he posted a photo showing that a sticker had been affixed to his NHI card, indicating that he had received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab on that date.
Vaccination record after taking shot. (Taiwan News photo)
A 55-year-old Canadian living in Taiwan who asked not to be named said that he did not need to provide proof that he was traveling abroad. He said that when medical staff asked him why he was getting the vaccine, he said that he might need to get back to his home country on short notice, as his mother is advanced in age.
He added that he had registered with his NHI card and received his first injection Wednesday morning (May 5). When asked if he had experienced any side effects, he said he had none "other than some minor dull pain around the injection site, which started about 20 minutes after the shot and is 90 percent gone now."