More than 130,000 Canadians have now used “Find My Vaccine” to locate COVID-19 vaccine clinics, and the reach of the app has now been extended across Canada. Find My Vaccine was initially launched at the start of May to assist eligible citizens find vaccine clinics in Ontario.
Co-founder Zain Manji (@ZainManji) tweeted this weekend, “Excited to share … now ANY Canadian, no matter their province or territory, can text +1 (833) 356-1683 with their postal code or visit www.findmyvaccine.ca to find nearby vaccination sites!❤️🇨🇦”
The app uses postal code data given by users to match to nearby COVID-19 vaccine locations. “It does not show supply at vaccine locations,” remarked Manji. “It sometimes shows the type of vaccine offered, but this depends on your province.”
Manji and Ashish Yelekar, friend and co-founder of Find My Vaccine, “discovered that this solution needed to be built after browsing Twitter,” explained Manji.
“We learned that the White House created a similar tool for Americans and thought that Canada needed it as well. We quickly built it in 3-4 hours. The response has been great, over 130,000 Canadians have texted in and many have been able to book appointments from it.”
In terms of advice for other rapid solution providers, Manji said, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission in this pandemic scenario. Go build what you think will be helpful. If it even helps one person, then it’s a success.”
What’s next for Find My Vaccine?
Manji shared, “One natural extension for the Find My Vaccine texting app is to send people text messages when a “pop-up” clinic appears in their area But since we don’t store any data, we don’t know who to text when a “pop-up” clinic appears, leaving the onus on people to text us to find out.”
Manji is also immersed in his latest tech ventures at Lazer Technologies which he co-founded.
Manji shared, “Lazer is a digital product studio that helps early stage companies and larger companies build amazing technology products.” Their services are described as supporting Black Box Projects or Staff Augmentation when an organization or team needs to source talent to scale up and down resources.
“We work with a lot of venture backed startups and companies who are aiming to solve incredibly challenging problems in the world.”
Before Lazer Technologies, Zain was one of the founders of Fiix (YC W17) and was part of the Instagram team that built trending. Before Instagram he was on the Yelp mobile engineering team, and he spent some time as an engineer at Google.