New York’s digital vaccine pass

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New York’s new Excelsior Pass is one of the first vaccine passes launched in the US. Its goal is to allow restaurants, sports venues, and other facilities to fully reopen safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The digital pass is free and voluntary, and it was developed in partnership with IBM. The pass confirms the user’s recent negative PCR or antigen test, or proof of vaccination.

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, “The innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure. The question of ‘public health or the economy’ has always been a false choice — the answer must be both. As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening.”

The app will function similar to an airline boarding pass where the user can either print out the necessary information or store it on their phone using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app. Each pass will have a QR code, which participating venues can scan to verify that you meet their health requirements, including testing and vaccination. During the initial phase of its launch, the app can be used at select theaters, stadiums, and wedding receptions and catered events, like Madison Square Garden and the Times Union Center. On April 2, the pass will also be usable at smaller venues as well.