New York launches Excelsior Pass that keeps COVID-19 vaccinations, negative test results in one place

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Photo courtesy of the Governor’s office

Keep your COVID-19 vaccination records and negative test results in one place with a new tool created by the state.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of Excelsior Pass, a free, voluntary platform that uses secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination. Made in partnership with IBM, the Excelsior pass is meant to help fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines.

“New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back COVID, and 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,” Governor Cuomo said. “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.”

“IBM is proud to support the State of New York with its efforts to apply innovative technologies to help residents and communities respond to COVID-19,” Steve LaFleche, General Manager, IBM Public and Federal Markets, said. “In choosing a flexible and accessible tool that places security and privacy at its core, the state is modeling for the rest of the country how new, technology-enabled approaches can help safely reinvigorate economies while also striving to protect public health.”

Just like a mobile airline boarding pass, users can either print out the pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app. Each pass will have a unique, secure QR code that participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination. The user’s data is kept secure and confidential at all times.

As a part of the launch, participating New Yorkers can choose to use the choose to use Excelsior Pass to verify their COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results as needed to gain entry to major stadiums and arenas, wedding receptions, or catered and other events above the social gathering limit. Several major venues, including Madison Square Garden in New York City, will begin utilizing the technology in the coming weeks, with the pass expanding to smaller venues on April 2. 

New York State is the first in the nation to formally launch this technology — prior to the official launch, two successful pilot demonstrations and beta testing were held in recent weeks with thousands of New Yorkers participating and providing feedback. A special emphasis was put on protecting the users’ privacy as well as equality and equity, as the app is available in multiple languages.

Click here for more information about the Excelsior Pass — businesses who want to opt in to using the pass can click here. The Excelsior Pass Wallet app, as well as the Excelsior Pass Scanner app, can be downloaded from the iOS and Google Play stores.