1.1M New York state vaccine passports downloaded since launch

More than 1 million New York state vaccine passports have been downloaded onto phones and computers since the platform launched in March.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that approximately 1.1 million Excelsior passes have been issued as of last week since the start of the voluntary program in March.

That number, however, is still far lower than the more than 10.7 million New Yorkers who have been vaccinated, according to state data.

The Excelsior Pass allows venues to scan to verify proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results. It’s downloaded through an app that creates a secure QR code for scanning.

Background: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the Excelsior Pass in March as “another tool in our toolbox” to fight the spread of COVID-19, while also allowing more areas of the economy to reopen safely. 

New York was the first state to implement a vaccine passport-type platform. Hawaii established a vaccine passport program to allow travel between its islands without testing or quarantines.

Controversial issue: Vaccine passports have evolved into a controversial and partisan issue, as several Republican governors, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) have signed executive orders banning vaccine passports in their states.

The White House in April ruled out the Biden administration playing a role in a vaccine passport system.