One of the most important pieces of paper you could carry around right now is your COVID-19 vaccination card, which will gain you entry to bars, restaurants, venues and some workplaces. And yet, it’s somehow too big and too small, easy to lose and easy to destroy.
A card this important could certainly work a little better, thought Michael Decktor and Jeremy LeWitt, friends and now business partners. So Decktor, a lawyer for a software company in Radnor, and LeWitt, a digital marketer and strategist for business services company, launched The Shot Carda company producing credit-card sized, plastic vaccine cards.
“There’s a lot of sentiment around a digital passport, but we wondered, ‘How can we do something like that isn’t tied to your phone?’” LeWitt said. “Mike had this idea and it just clicked.”
After talking about the concept last summer, they went forward with a simple, straightforward solution. The cards fit in a wallet or pocket, can’t get ruined in the washing machine and are more disaster-proof, the pair said. A card clearly shows a person’s name, vaccine brand, doses and dates. It also displays a QR code that takes you to a photo of the paper card, if needed, but the founders have used the cards for domestic and international travel, dining and events with no issue. (Note that it’s recommended you keep the original version in the case you need it.)
The price: $20.
Cards were available for order starting September 2021, but as the City of Philadelphia rolled out its new vaccine mandate at the start of the year for indoor entry to all restaurants, bars, venues and sports arenas, sales have spiked recently, the cofounders said. They also rolled out a new design to include booster shots, as much of the population are eligible and encouraged to receive an extra dose for protection against the Omicron variant.
If you ordered a card but got another dose recently, The Shot Card will send you an updated version for half price (though the mandate is only requiring proof of two doses of a Pfizer or Moderna shot and one Johnson & Johnson). The founding pair aren’t verifying the vaccine doses, as the CDC does log and verify that data. But they’ve now seen hundreds of cards and think they’d be able to spot a fake, they said.
About 50% of their sales recently have come from the Philly area, but the other half are coming in from other parts of the country — noticeably states like California, Texas and Virginia, Decktor noted. They’ve also seen a pattern of word-of-mouth ordering: They’ll fulfill an order for one person or a couple, and a few days later, get groups of extended family, or people with the same last name placing orders, as well.
Decktor and LeWitt are working on the business as a side project to their day jobs, and its Decktor’s first dabble in entrepreneurship. He tends to take on the creative, communication and any legal sides of the business, while LeWitt has run point on the technology and order management system.
“The genesis was based on the current need and lack of anything like it in the market,” Decktor said. “And we were hoping to make people’s lives easier.”