New York state announced that one million passes for its Excelsior vaccine passport program have been issued since the program launched in March.

The voluntary and free 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 can either print their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass’ “Wallet App.” Each pass has a secure QR code that venues can scan to confirm someone’s COVID health status.

After rolling out a pilot program in March, New York state reports that the Excelsior Pass is now being utilized by venues, universities, stadiums, and businesses across the state. According to the state, passes are valid for 365 days – up from 180 days when the program first launched – and can be retrieved 15 days after the final vaccine dose.

Venues using the Excelsior Pass include Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, the Nassau Coliseum, Belmont Park, the Times Union Center, NBT Bank Stadium, the Carrier Dome, Sahlen Field, KeyBank Center, and Frontier Field. Colleges and universities, including State University of New York campuses, Syracuse University, Pace University, and Long Island University, have also announced that they will use Excelsior Pass for large events, such as sporting events.

As part of new guidance issued on May 19, the state lifted capacity restrictions and adopted CDC guidance on masks and social distancing for fully vaccinated individuals. As part of the guidance, eligible businesses may choose to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination status through Excelsior Pass or other verification methods.

Currently, passes can only be retrieved for COVID-19 vaccinations or negative test results received in the state, though users are not required to be a resident of New York. The state governor’s office said it is working with regional and international partners to broaden its use, as well as major New York state employers to support office reopenings.

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