New York State Pilots Vaccine Passport

New York State is piloting a digital COVID-19 vaccine passport which allows holders –  via a digital card on their phones – to provide proof that they’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine and/or have tested negative for the virus. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office states that the use of the pass should fast track the reopening of certain businesses and events – especially large gatherings, such as at airports, sports stadiums, and amusement parks.

The “Excelsior Pass,” is a blockchain-based application designed by IBM as a virtual wallet for storing medical records. According to IBM, the blockchain technology used is interoperable, so similar passes could be used by other state or local agencies in the future. Screenshots of the Excelsior Pass are Available Here.

Users of the pass will be able to choose what kinds of medical information they’d like to keep stored on their phone without sharing excess personal data. The state will also offer a printed credential as proof of a COVID-19 vaccine. The app isn’t available on the Google or Apple app stores yet, but results of the pilot program will be used to improve the app before it’s submitted to the app stores.

“We’re doing everything we can to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible, as quickly as possible, while keeping the infection rate down and reenergizing our economy in a safe, smart way,” Cuomo said in a press release. “As we begin reopening the valves on different sectors of our economy, we are putting guidelines in place to ensure individuals attending events involving larger gatherings have tested negative for COVID or have been vaccinated to avoid an outbreak of the virus.”