The Excelsior Pass vaccine passport app in New York can be overwhelming to use the product


The Excelsior Pass in New York has become even more popular. Since launching in March, the digital vaccine platform has released millions of passes, allowing people to show proof of vaccination or negative test results through a state-made app. But not many businesses use the signature feature of the Excelsior Pass: a scanable QR code that can easily verify customers ’vaccination status by checking state records.

While the state of New York released 6 million total Excelsior Passes in the 29 weeks from launch, the passes were scanned more than 314,000 times, the governor’s office told Recode on Thursday. That amounts to an average of about 10,800 scans per week. The app used by businesses to scan the Excelsior Pass QR code has been downloaded about 156,000 times.

New York, the first state to launch an app -based vaccine passport system, paid for by IBM millions of dollars to help build the Excelsior Pass platform. The system is designed to make reopening safer by giving businesses a more secure way to confirm vaccination status than checking the role of CDC cards, which is easily forged. But the state of New York or New York City does not require businesses to scan the Excelsior Pass, and the small number of total scans suggests that the Excelsior Pass is complicated for its own benefit. Meanwhile, workers do not have a strong incentive to extend the process of checking people’s vaccination evidence when they are already facing harassment from customers were angry about Covid-19’s instructions.

Recode first learned that state scan activity was small between March and June after getting a report from the New York Office of Information Technology Services through a request to public records. The governor’s office shared the latest data, showing the same trend. The scan numbers also match anecdotal evidence from more than a dozen New Yorkers who spoke to Recode, all of whom used the Excelsior Pass but said their QR codes were rare or never. to be scanned.

“I’ve been to a lot of places, more than 10 times. In fact, every time I go out, they look at it, but there’s no scanning,” said Bruna Martins, a sales manager who lives in Manhattan. “They don’t even have a scanner.”

“It’s just a look at them. ‘Oh, hey, it’s on your phone. It’s on, well.’ I haven’t scanned any QR code yet,” said Matt Gross, a digital strategist who based in Brooklyn.

While New Yorkers say the app is a convenient way to store vaccination proof, they’re not sure why the Excelsior Pass has a QR code. Some say they didn’t know there was a separate scanning app.

How the Excelsior Pass would have worked

The Excelsior Pass system has two apps: the NYS Excelsior Pass Wallet app, which customers use to store their Excelsior Passes, and the NYS Excelsior Pass Scanner app, where venues are used to scan passes QR code.

New Yorkers can download their individual Excelsior Pass from the state government website by providing their own details such as their name and date of birth. The site also asks for the type of vaccine the person received as well as the date of their most recent dose, after which the system checks the information against a state -run immunization database. If everyone checks, the state issues the person an Excelsior Vaccination Pass, showing their QR code, name, and birthday. There is also a much newer option to get an Excelsior Pass Plus, which also shows the type of vaccine a person has received and the date of their dose. The Excelsior Pass system also works with test results and verification systems in other states.

Restaurants, theaters, and other places should download the NYS Excelsior Pass Scanner app to scan their customers ’passes. If this app scans a QR code, the technology checks to determine if the user’s vaccination information is the same as the state records and is adequate. The scanner app immediately displays an alert, such as “valid,” “expired,” or “not visible.” Businesses check also supposedly that a person’s pass name matches their official state ID.

New York announced the Excelsior Pass system as such an advanced tool that will help open up the state as well safe and fast. To build this system, the New York Office of Business Information Services agreed to pay IBM an initial $ 2.5 million to build a state -specific version of the existing company. Blockchain -based Digital Health Pass technology. Depending on how many Excelsior Passes are downloaded over the next three years, however, IBM could earn up to $ 12.3 million more in licensing fees. In total, the project could cost $ 27 million, according to the New York Times. the IBM contract also outlined that Excelsior Pass technology could be explained for other tasks in the future, such as confirming a person’s age or checking their driver’s license.

The Excelsior Pass is rarely scanned

Some Excelsior Pass users say they are shocked when a venue asks to scan their app. Alina Butareva, a Brooklyn-based communications professional, told Recode that the Barclays Center was the only place her Excelsior Pass was scanned. Martins, the sales manager, said his code was only scanned by Pasquale Jones, an Italian restaurant.

The Excelsior Pass scans that occur vary in different industries, according to state data. Sports venues had 29 percent of scans between March and June, while food service businesses had 23 percent and performing arts centers accounted for 22 percent. The governor’s office will not share any additional data about which areas the passes were scanned, citing the scanner app’s privacy policy.

Meanwhile, it is the service workers who there is a bad job of enforcing the vaccine order inside New York City. While they can look at a CDC card and driver’s license, using a new app and scanning QR codes can make the tax process of checking vaccine conditions even more tedious. Afterwards, faced by these workers abuse, violence, and sexual harassment to attempt to implement public health measures during a pandemic.

When asked about the limited use of the scanner app, Excelsior Pass program architect Sandra Beattie, stressed that venues have the option of scanning QR code passes.

“As more stringent measures are implemented, we are seeing an increase in scanning activity, but scanning activity is in the cooperation of individuals, no matter how you interact,” said Beattie, the first deputy director of the New York State Division of Budget, Recode said. “The scanner is optional – recommended, not mandated.”

Leaving the authentication part is problematic, according to Siddarth Adukia, technical director of cybersecurity firm NCC Group.

“If you just look at a user’s device pass, that’s not a guarantee that the user is actually vaccinated or that the credential is real,” Adukia said. While he thinks the scan number is as low, Adukia says it matches his own experience of visiting New York City areas.

Despite the short scan numbers, New York is still trying to expand the Excelsior Pass system. Excelsior Pass Plus can also be scanned anywhere that accepts Health Smart Cards, vaccine deliveries that follow a set of standards set by the Vaccine Credential Institute. Smart Health Cards are now being made used of businesses in California, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Virginia. State of New York also upgraded the Excelsior Pass Scanner app so it can scan out-of-state SMART Health Cards, too.

While the Excelsior Pass began as a tool to help New York businesses recover from pandemic disease, the state is now exploring how the platform can be restored to ensure other varieties of record and credentials. New York hasn’t decided what will be available for the next Excelsior Pass system, but it’s confident it will play a role for these apps in the future.

“Probably one of the most lessons learned from the Covid environment [is] our experience with digital vaccine credentials, which has made it easier for us to think about digital government, ”Beattie told Recode.

But if the New York experience of the Excelsior Pass bears any indication, when faced with digital solutions, the government could be overwhelmed with problems with multiple analog solutions. After all, it’s not clear how important these high-tech tools are if people don’t use them.



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