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CDC email suggests vaccine cards should fit in your wallet

CDC email suggests vaccine cards should fit in your wallet
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CDC email suggests vaccine cards should fit in your wallet

CDC email suggests vaccine cards should fit in your wallet

From the beginning of time (about five or six months ago), people all over the world (Twitter users In United States) is complicit on a very important question: Why does the COVID-19 Vaccine Card not fit in the Wallet?

The card is too large for a standard Wallet card slot and, as pointed out by Amanda Mull the Atlantic, is still small enough that it would be easy to lose. It’s like the reverse Goldilocks: just wrong. A handful of people told Mull in August, speculating that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may not have thought so much about the size of the card.

but it turns out they were at least thinking Regarding the size of the card as per email received through Freedom of Information Act request and sent to ledge by a reader.

Email correspondence within the CDC suggests the agency was working on a vaccination card as early as August 2020, months before the first COVID-19 vaccines would be authorized for use. On August 6, an employee sent an email with a draft of the vaccination card. “Keep in mind that the card should be small enough to fit in the wallet,” the employee wrote in an email. “Most cards I see are about 4″ x 3.5″ and are usually folded up.”

Screen Shot 2021 10 01 at 3.13.13 PM

It’s important to note here that wallet-sized items tend to be much smaller than 4″ x 3.5″. Wallet-sized photos are 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches and standard credit cards are 2.125 inches by 3.37 inches.

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But the key information comes at the end of the sentence: “usually folded.” If the cards were 4 inches wide and 3.5 inches long, folding them in half would make them 2 inches wide and 3.5 inches long. This is close to the size of a standard credit card.

And that wasn’t even the last dimension of a deck of cards. The following Saturday, Operation Warp Speed, which led the vaccine development process, asked the CDC to send out vaccine cards by the end of the day on Monday. The CDC team hurried to finalize the design by the deadline, and the same employee sent a print-ready version Tuesday morning. In that email, the card’s dimensions were set to be 4.25 inches x 3.5 inches.

Screen Shot 2021 10 01 at 1.31.03 PM

OK, time for more math. folding He A card sized in half will place the card at 2.125 inches by 3.5 inches, roughly the same size as a credit card. Excellent! Perfect size to meet wallet-fitting goal. All ready, good to go.

But unfortunately, this story does not have a happy ending. Even if the CDC designed the card for that size, it is not the size at which the cards ended. My vaccine card measures 4 inches by 3 inches – too big to fit in a wallet. There’s nothing on the cards to suggest turning it. And moreover, it has to be folded in half put into 2 inches by 3 inches (so much math today). It’s smaller than a credit card and small enough that it will slip down into the card slot and be difficult to dig.

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What happened between these emails, which promised a card that would fit in a purse, and the vaccination campaign, which gave everyone cards that don’t easily fit into a purse? That’s where things get obscured, and it’s a mystery I haven’t solved yet. CDC did not respond to a request for comment. Maybe at some point someone clicked the wrong button on the printer. But maybe there’s a lesson here: The road to hell is paved with good intentions—and cardstock the size of cardstock.


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