NY launches Excelsior Pass Plus to expand proof of COVID-19 vaccination program

Coronavirus Update for New York
NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced the launch of Excelsior Pass Plus to expand travel and commerce opportunities for fully vaccinated residents.

The expanded proof-of-vaccination program enables compatibility between New York State's Excelsior Pass platform, which has generated 3 million passes and provides digital proof of vaccination or negative test result, and the highly secure, globally recognized SMART Health Cards Framework developed by an international consortium called VCI.

It also includes a first-in-the-nation partnership with VeriFLY by Daon, through which Excelsior Pass Plus users can securely upload their verified COVID-19 vaccination credentials to VeriFLY, and travel through American Airlines to Greece, France, Spain, Italy, and the Bahamas, and on indirect flights to El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, and Puerto Rico.

The list will continue to grow as partnerships facilitating access to more countries are in development.

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New Yorkers will be able to display their Excelsior Pass Plus at hundreds of businesses and locations that require proof of vaccination, as well as when traveling to entities where SMART Health Cards are accepted.

Excelsior Pass Plus, a result of the strategic partnership between New York State and VCI, will provide New Yorkers safe access to retrieve a secure, digital copy of their COVID-19 vaccination record using the SMART Health Cards Framework - making their interstate and international travel and commerce experiences safer, contact-less, and more seamless.

"Excelsior Pass has enabled New Yorkers to get back to the people and things they love, helping drive our economic recovery in the process," Cuomo said. "Excelsior Pass Plus will advance this even further, and is part of our broad commitment to securely take our vaccination verification efforts to the next level. From day one, we have said that the question of 'public health or the economy' is a false choice. It is and must always be both, and as we continue to follow the science to remain ahead of the pandemic, we will continue to innovate our tools to ensure that New Yorkers and New York businesses thrive."

Building off the state's successful Excelsior Pass solution, Excelsior Pass Plus expands its usage, supporting the safe and secure return of tourism and business travel and providing a Pass option that holds the same level of information and validity as a CDC Vaccination Card, with greater security than a physical card which can be misplaced or stolen, and verified by the state of New York.

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Excelsior Pass Plus was developed in partnership with VCI, a voluntary coalition of 570 public and private organizations, including The Mayo Clinic, MITRE, Boston Children's Hospital, Microsoft, and The Commons Project Foundation, that lead the development and implementation of the open-source SMART Health Cards Framework and specifications, which are already in use in states such as California, Louisiana, and Hawaii.

Using two-factor authentication security, Excelsior Pass Plus expands on the state's commitment to empower individuals with access to a free, trustworthy, privacy-preserving, and verifiable copy of their own vaccination records in paper or digital form, and supports the harmonization of standards needed for the issuance of verifiable health credentials worldwide - signed clinical data bound to an individual identity.

Currently, more than 50 countries globally are allowing U.S. travelers entry with proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information, visit epass.ny.gov.

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