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Excelsior Pass first in nation to validate passes issued from states based on federal & state COVID-19 guidance


Tue, Oct 5th 2021 05:35 pm

Updated scanner app available to businesses nationwide for interstate acceptance

√ More than 5.6 million Excelsior Passes and Excelsior Passes Plus retrieved since launch

√ New York residents vaccinated in New Jersey or Vermont now eligible to retrieve their passes

√ Learn more About Excelsior Pass here

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced New York state's Excelsior Pass scanner app – a free companion app for businesses – has been updated to enable the validation of SMART Health Cards from trusted issuers outside of New York based on federal and state COVID-19 guidance.

A first-in-the-nation solution, led by the state and designed in collaboration with the Vaccine Credential Initiative (VCI) – a coalition of more than 800 public and private organizations including The Mayo Clinic, Boston Children's Hospital, Microsoft, MITRE and The Commons Project Foundation – the app's new validation system supports the standards and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination credentials between issuers nationwide. Hochul’s team said this is “helping more people safely return to work, school, entertainment and travel. As part of the state's commitment to equity and access, the app can be downloaded for free by any business or venue in the United States.”

To date, more than 5.6 million Excelsior Passes, including over 800,000 Excelsior Passes Plus, have been issued since New York launched the first-in-the-nation, voluntary platform. The Excelsior Pass platform currently offers proof of COVID-19 vaccination and/or negative test results through three different Excelsior Pass options, as well as a digital copy of an individual's COVID-19 vaccination record and/or negative test results through three different Excelsior Pass Plus options. New York residents who were vaccinated in New Jersey or Vermont can now retrieve their proof of vaccination or digital vaccination record through Excelsior Pass and Excelsior Pass Plus, respectively.

"New York was hit hard by COVID-19, and we have led bold efforts to pursue innovative solutions to reinvigorate economies," Hochul said. "Excelsior Pass and Excelsior Pass Plus – the nation's first vaccine and negative test pass system – have been critical tools in the safe reopening of our economy and the protection of New York's public health. We're expanding this solution even further with a set of standards that can be used and validated by all businesses for free, nationwide, based on shared policies and commitments New Yorkers trust."

Hochul’s team said, “The scanner app's expanded validation capabilities further affirm the state's commitment to provide New York businesses with every tool to reopen and stay open while creating a model for national collaboration. Following today's update, the scanner app will be able to validate passes from U.S. states that issue SMART Health Cards, including California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Virginia and, soon, Washington state – enabling businesses to use the app for seamless and contactless entry with more patrons from outside of New York.”

Dr. Brian Anderson, chief digital health physician for MITRE and co-lead of VCI, said, "We are excited about the state of New York's collaboration and leadership in developing an easy-to-use tool for validating proof of vaccination as we enter into fall and anticipate an increase in indoor activity. The coordination between states like New York, California and Washington illustrates the power of the freely available open-source SMART Health Cards framework and standards to support innovation, inclusion and interoperability throughout the United States and abroad."

JP Pollak, The Commons Project co-founder and Cornell University senior researcher, said, "When VCI adopted SMART Health Cards, we did so with the goal of helping the world reopen safely by giving individuals access to a trustworthy copy of their vaccination record to use wherever and whenever they might need it. Thanks to trusted issuers nationwide, including partnership and leadership from New York state and others who are championing the technology and demonstrating the significance of its use, more than 150 million U.S. residents have access to a SMART Health Card. The latest update to the Excelsior Pass scanner app gives New Yorkers like me – as well as millions of others in the U.S. – the power of a simple, streamlined mechanism for using their SMART Health Cards in ways that matter."

Hochul’s team said, “Through the scanner app's rule engine, the trusted issuers framework ensures that passes accepted meet New York state's standards of issuance. Based on state and federal public health guidance, this includes vaccine type, the definition of fully vaccinated, a commitment to accessibility through print and digital, and the protection of individuals' health data. The app will also be able to validate SMART Health Cards by other trusted VCI issuers for free.”

To date, more than 145,000 downloads of the Excelsior Pass scanner app have been made. New York venues such as New York Fashion Week, the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium, and Tilles Center at Long Island University have announced the leveraging of Excelsior Pass and Excelsior Pass Plus for their recent and upcoming events. New York businesses big and small across hard-hit sectors have and continue to utilize Excelsior Pass statewide.

Any New York business, venue or organization can immediately begin accepting Excelsior Pass and/or Excelsior Pass Plus by downloading the free NYS Excelsior Pass scanner app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and completing a registration form. More information on Excelsior Pass and Excelsior Pass Plus for businesses is available here. New marketing assets for businesses are available here

A press release noted, “The purpose of the app is to solely validate passes from trusted issuers for proof of vaccination and/or negative COVID-19 test results for business entry against the Smart Health Cards framework.”

Interested New Yorkers can visit epass.ny.gov to retrieve their free pass today, or learn more here

Hochul’s team said, “New Yorkers should know that an Excelsior Vaccination Pass Plus is a secure, digital copy of an individual's vaccination record and, as such, it does not have an expiration date. Excelsior Vaccination Passes are valid for 365 days from the final dose of an individual's initial vaccine series. Those who received their Excelsior Vaccination Pass before this update was made in May can retrieve a new pass at epass.ny.gov at any time.”

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