Here’s how you can show proof of vaccination in New York City

Posted On Thu, August 5, 2021 By

Posted On Thu, August 5, 2021 By In Features, Policy

Photo courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Flickr

Starting August 17, people who want to dine inside at a restaurant, exercise at the gym, or attend an indoor performance in New York City must present proof of Covid-19 vaccination. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced the “Key to NYC Pass” initiative, part of his administration’s plan to increase the vaccination rate in the city and fight the very transmissible Delta variant. Plus, there are new vaccine mandates in place for city and state employees, including patient-facing public healthcare workers. There are three ways to prove you received the vaccine, including the state’s Excelsior Pass, an app released by the city called NYC Covid Safe, or the paper record issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Excelsior Pass
In March, New York launched Excelsior Pass, becoming the first state to roll out a digital vaccine passport. Designed like a mobile airline boarding pass, the smartphone app uses official records of people vaccinated in New York to provide users with a digital pass that has a secure QR code. The app can also provide proof of a recent negative Covid test, whether it’s PCR or Antigen, taken in New York. Businesses can scan and validate passes using a mobile device or tablet to ensure guests meet vaccination and testing requirements.

Who can get one?
You can retrieve an Excelsior Pass if you have been fully vaccinated in the state of New York or you are a New York resident with a healthcare provider who has entered your information into state and city databases. Those who received a vaccine in New York but are not New York residents will be able to retrieve a pass.

You will be unable to retrieve a pass if you have tested positive for Covid in the last 10 days or if it has been less than 15 days since you received your final dose in your vaccine series.

How do I retrieve it?
New Yorkers can visit the Excelsior Pass online portal at To retrieve the pass, you’ll have to enter personal information, including first and last name, date of birth, ZIP code, and phone number. You will then be asked to enter the date of the final dose of your vaccination series, or the date of your single vaccine dose, the county where you received the final dose, and whether you received Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson. Multiple passes for adults and children can be stored on the same device.

How do I use it?
Present your pass on your smartphone by using the NYS Excelsior Pass Wallet app and the pass can be added to your Apple Wallet if you have an iPhone. For those without smartphones, you can retrieve a pass on the Excelsior Pass website and print a paper copy to use. The pass is valid for 365 days after the final dose of the vaccine, but a new pass can be retrieved.

What is the Excelsior Pass Plus?
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of Excelsior Pass Plus, an expansion of the Excelsior Pass. The updated pass provides details on your completed Covid-19 vaccination series, including the date of each dose, the type of vaccine, the site where you received the vaccine and the vaccine lot number. According to state officials, the pass provides the same level of information and validity as an official CDC vaccination card, without being as easy to lose.

As part of a partnership with VeriFly, Excelsior Pass Plus users can securely upload their vaccination credentials to VeriFly and travel via American Airlines to Greece, France, Spain, Italy, and the Bahamas, and on indirect flights to El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, and Puerto Rico, according to an announcement from the governor. You can retrieve the Plus pass the same way as the original Excelsior Pass, on the Excelsior Pass website.

NYC Covid Safe app
As part of the “Key to NYC Pass” initiative, New York City this month rolled out its own Covid app that’s much simpler to use. The NYC Covid Safe app uploads copies of your CDC-issued vaccine card and stores it in the app. Users can also upload photo identification and negative Covid test results.

It does not verify if the documents are legitimate, unlike the state’s app which verifies your vaccination record with the state’s health system.

Credit: Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Flickr

Paper card issued by the CDC
The paper cards issued at vaccination sites by the CDC and used across the country will also be accepted in New York City. City residents who have lost their cards can look up their records online here.


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