Excelsior Pass New York Vaccine Passport Application May Be Redesigned

The Excelsior Pass in New York is becoming increasingly popular. Since launching in March, the digital vaccine platform has issued millions of badges that allow people to display proof of vaccination or negative test results through a government-developed app. But not many businesses use the Excelsior Pass signature feature: a scannable QR code that can quickly check the vaccination status of customers by checking government records.

While New York State issued a total of 6 million Excelsior passes in the 29 weeks since launch, those passes were scanned just over 314,000 times, Recode in the governor’s office told Recode on Thursday. This averages around 10,800 scans per week. The app that companies use to scan QR codes Excelsior Pass has been downloaded approximately 156,000 times.

New York, First State to Launch Application-Based Vaccine Passport System Paid by IBM millions of dollars to help build the Excelsior Pass platform. The system was designed to make reopening safer by providing businesses with a safer way to confirm vaccination status than checking CDC paper cards, which are easily counterfeited. But neither New York State nor New York City require companies to scan the Excelsior Pass, and the small total number of scans suggests that the Excelsior Pass is too complex on its own. Meanwhile, there is little incentive for workers to extend the process of verifying evidence of vaccination of people when they are already facing harassment from customers unhappy with the Covid-19 guidelines.

Recode first learned that statewide scanning activity was low between March and June after receiving report from the New York Office of Information Technology Services upon request from open sources. The governor’s administration then shared the latest data that showed a similar trend. The scan numbers also match up with anecdotal testimonies from over a dozen New Yorkers who spoke to Recode, all of whom used the Excelsior Pass but said their QR codes were rarely or never scanned.

“I have been to different places more than 10 times. Basically, every time I go out, they look at it, but there is no scan, ”said Bruna Martins, a marketing manager who lives in Manhattan. “They don’t even have a scanner.”

“They just look at it. “Oh, it’s on your phone. It exists, great. ” “I’ve never made people scan a QR code,” said Matt Gross, a digital strategist based in Brooklyn.

While New Yorkers said the app was a convenient way to store vaccination evidence, they weren’t sure why the Excelsior Pass had a QR code. Some said they didn’t even know there was a separate scanning application.

How Excelsior Pass should work

The Excelsior Pass system includes two applications: the NYS Excelsior Pass Wallet, which customers use to store their Excelsior passes, and the NYS Excelsior Pass Scanner, which businesses use to scan QR codes of the passes.

New Yorkers can download their personalized Excelsior Pass from the state government website with personal information such as their name and birthday. The site also asks for the type of vaccine the person received, as well as the date of his last doses, after which the system checks the information with state immunization database… If all goes well, the state will issue the person with an Excelsior Vaccine Pass that displays their QR code, name, and birthday. There is also a newer option for getting Excelsior Pass Plus, which also shows the type of vaccine the person received and the date of their doses. The Excelsior Pass system also works with test results and validation systems in other states.

Restaurants, movie theaters and other establishments must download the NYS Excelsior Pass Scanner app to scan their customers’ passes. When this app scans the QR code, the technology checks to see if the user’s vaccination information matches the state’s data and is still valid. The scanner application then displays a warning, such as valid, expired, or not found. Businesses should also check that the name on someone’s badge matches their official state identifier.

New York advertised the Excelsior Pass system as advanced tool what could help the state to reopen safe and fast… To create this system, the New York Business Information Administration agreed to pay IBM an initial $ 2.5 million to create a state-specific version of the existing company. Blockchain-based Digital Health Pass technology… However, depending on how many Excelsior passes are downloaded over the next three years, IBM could earn up to $ 12.3 million more in license fees. In general, the project can cost up to $ 27 million. according to the New York Times… V IBM contract it is also stipulated that the Excelsior Pass technology can be repurposed to solve other problems in the future, for example confirmation of someone’s age or checking their driver’s license.

The Excelsior Pass is rarely scanned.

Some Excelsior Pass users say they are surprised when an establishment asks to scan their app. Alina Butareva, a communications specialist based in Brooklyn, told Recode that the Barclays Center is the only place that has ever scanned her Excelsior pass. Martins, a marketing manager, said that only Pasquale Jones, an Italian restaurant, scanned her code.

According to the state, the Excelsior Pass scans that are actually carried out vary from industry to industry. Between March and June, sports venues accounted for 29 percent of scans, food service providers 23 percent, and performing arts centers 22 percent. The Governor’s office will not share any additional details about which locations scan passes by referencing the scanner app’s privacy policy.

Meanwhile, it is the service workers they have an unpleasant job of enforcing New York City’s indoor vaccination requirements. While they can take a look at the CDC card and driver’s license, using the new app and scanning QR codes can make the already cumbersome process of checking vaccine status more tedious. After all, these workers faced abuse, violence and sexual harassment as they tried to enforce public health measures during the pandemic.

When asked about the limited use of the scanner app, Excelsior Pass architect Sandra Beatty emphasized that establishments have a choice when it comes to scanning pass QR codes.

“As we introduce more stringent measures, we see an increase in scanning activity, but this scanning depends on the cooperation of individuals, no matter how you interact,” said Beatty, first deputy director of New York State. The budget, Recode said. Scanner optional – recommended but not required.

Not include verification in the process, according to Siddarth Adukia, CTO of cybersecurity firm NCC Group.

“If you just look at the badge on a user’s device, there is no guarantee that the user is actually vaccinated or the credentials are genuine,” Adukia said. While he thought the number of scans seemed low, Adukia said it was consistent with his own experience of visiting New York City.

Despite the small number of scans, New York is still trying to expand the Excelsior Pass system. Excelsior Pass Plus can also be scanned anywhere SMART Health Cardswhich are vaccine omissions that meet the set of standards developed by the Vaccine Credential Institute. Smart Health Cards currently used companies in California, Hawaii, Louisiana and Virginia. State of New York also updated Excelsior Pass Scanner app so it can also scan out-of-state SMART health cards.

While the Excelsior Pass started out as a tool to help New York City businesses recover from the pandemic, the state is currently exploring ways to upgrade the platform to validate other types of records and credentials. New York has not yet decided what the Excelsior Pass can be used for in the future, but I am confident that these applications will play a role in the future.

“Probably one of the most important lessons learned from the Covid environment. [is] “Our experience with digital vaccine certificates in the sense that it has accelerated our understanding of digital government,” Beatty told Recode.

But if New York’s experience with the Excelsior Pass is any indication, when faced with digital solutions, the government may overestimate problems that have more analog solutions. After all, it’s unclear how valuable these high-tech tools will be if people don’t actually use them.

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