Digital Vaccine Passports Are Coming


New York State has already launched a digital vaccine passport system, and now reports indicate that the Biden administration, along with private companies, are working to develop standards for these systems.

New York’s digital vaccine passport, known as “Excelsior Pass” is shown above.  New York’s website states that the pass can be used at theaters, stadiums, and other venues:

As Part of Initial Launch, Excelsior Pass Can Be Used by Participating New Yorkers at Theaters, Major Stadiums and Arenas, Weddings Receptions, Catered Events & Other Events in Accordance with New York State Guidelines

The Excelsor Pass can be used to prove that you’ve been vaccinated and/or received a recent negative COVID-19 test result.  Those working venues can download an app used to scan the Excelsor Pass in order to determine whether to allow entry.

With regards to national standards, the white house coronavirus coordinator told the Washington Post: “Our role is to help ensure that any solutions in this area should be  simple, free, open source, accessible to people both digitally and on paper, and designed from the start to protect people’s privacy.”

My Thoughts

Within the U.S., once every adult who wants a vaccine can get one, it’s unclear whether this system will really be needed.  For international travel, though, I think it would be fantastic if many/most countries would accept a digital vaccine passport for entry.

More importantly, in my opinion, this could be a great step forward toward better handling of future pandemics.  For example, perhaps fewer businesses and schools would have to close when an alternative is to scan digital passports at entry to ensure a recent negative test.

I’m encouraged too by our government’s stated priorities:

  • Simple
  • Free
  • Open source
  • Accessible to people both digitally and on paper
  • Designed from the start to protect people’s privacy

In my opinion, those are exactly the right priorities.  I’m hopeful that something good and useful will come out of this effort!

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