NEWS31 March 2021

New York introduces Covid-19 vaccine passports

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US – New York has launched a digital pass to help people voluntarily share their Covid vaccination or negative test status to access entertainment and hospitality venues.

Covid-19 vaccine

The Excelsior Pass works by allowing users to print out a pass or store a pass on their smartphone including a QR code, which can be scanned by a companion app used by a registered venue.

The pass, which has been developed in partnership with IBM following a successful pilot, can be used by theatres, major stadiums and arenas, weddings and catered events, and will be implemented by Madison Square Gardens and Times Union Centre.

The pass is available on Android and Apple, and is built to keep individuals’ data secure and confidential.

The New York initiative follows suggestions that the UK could implement a vaccination passport scheme, with Boris Johnson claiming this month that pub landlords could be allowed to ask for proof of vaccination before admitting entry.

New York is the first state in the US to use a vaccine passport, and introduced Excelsior following two pilots and a beta test using thousands of New Yorkers.

Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, said: “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.”