Excelsior Pass: How to get one, how it works, and more questions answered on vaccine verification

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As COVID-19 guidelines continue to change, leaders are saying the excelsior pass is the easiest way for New Yorkers to verify their vaccination or negative COVID-19 status. 

The excelsior pass is a free application that can downloaded right onto your phone. It will automatically find your vaccination status in the state’s database and can be used as proof of vaccination or of a negative COVID-19 status. 

“Its’s about as easy, in fact even easier, than downloading a boarding pass for an airline ticket,” said Vincent Esposito, regional director at Empire State Development.

Anyone can download the free app, enter basic information such as name and zip code and the app will do the rest. 

“It links to the New York state immunizations information system it downloads your data and basically puts a little card on your phone,” said Dr. Nancy Bennett, lead for Finger Lakes COVID-19 vaccine.

The app uses a secure QR code that can be stored in a smartphone or printed out and shown to businesses or venues asking for proof.

For now, it’s only for people who were vaccinated in New York state, so if you got the shot or a test somewhere else, the app won’t work. 

“We’re getting to the point where we’re hoping to expand the Excelsior Pass so it will work just like an EZ-Pass,” said Esposito.

The COVID-19 vaccination pass expires after six months. The PCR Test and Antigen Test Pass even sooner. You will have to sign up for a new pass after expiration.

There are also mechanisms in place to prevent fraud, as a code will be flagged if its used to many times within the same time period. 

“So somebody can’t pass the same QR code back several times. The scanner will recognize at that point in time that has been used multiple times,” said Esposito “This is intended to help people who are doing the right thing to do it safely and to do it easier.”

Leaders hope it will push more people to get vaccinated.

“These are incentives to get vaccinated and utilize the Excelsior Pass because it’s going to mean longer lines when going into venues like that, but have the latest technology will help you,” said Esposito.

The Excelsior Pass is optional and will be accepted at major entertainment venues.

The state is collecting any reports of issues with the pass. Anyone who is having trouble signing up can email the state at stopvaxfraud@health.ny.gov.

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