New York state piloted a new vaccine passport program at a recent Brooklyn Nets Game. The vaccine passport, called the Excelsior Pass, uses a verification app to enable the verification of health credentials such as test results and vaccination records.

The app, developed in partnership with IBM, is similar to a mobile airline boarding pass. Users will be able to either print their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass’ “Wallet App.” Each pass will have a secure QR code that venues can scan to confirm someone’s COVID health status.

The pilot comes on the heels of major stadium and arena reopening guidelines that require all staff and spectators receive a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. The governor’s office said the results of the pilot, which will run during select events at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center, will be used to “enhance the quality of the application, maximizing return on investment and saving development time, prior to submission to Apple and Google for approval to go into their app stores.”

Excelsior Pass uses blockchain technology to allow individuals to voluntarily share their health status through an encrypted digital wallet on their smartphone without the need to share underlying medical and personal information. New York state says the technology is “flexible and built to scale, allowing other states to join and help foster a safer, trusted transition to a post-pandemic reality.”

The governor’s office stressed that “robust privacy protections are woven throughout the digital health pass solution,” and that the passport gives individuals a “secure, verifiable, and trusted way to maintain control of their personal health information using an encrypted digital smartphone wallet or printed credential.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs