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How does Excelsior Pass actually work?

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Posted at 10:36 PM, Apr 16, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — James from Amherst says he was fully vaccinated at a CVS in February. After hearing the calls from the state, he tried setting up the Excelsior Pass, only to be told that they could not confirm his vaccination.

"It's been over two months since my shot and I've been trying to see if there is a problem or get it straightened out," James said, "I called CVS, no luck, I called the state, no luck."

James says he has been trying since then to get answers from the State. Cyber Security Expert Arun Vishwanath says James' problem is not isolated.

"I've heard from some people I have talked to that if they get a test done, it has to be from an approved provider. If they don't, it wont show up on Excelsior fast enough," Vishwanath said.

According to Vishwanath, the Excelsior Pass is intended to be used as a COVID-19 vaccination passport, showing a QR code to prove a person is vaccinated. It could be used for admittance into sporting events, restaurants, and concerts in the future.

Users need a smartphone to get the Excelsior Pass. The pass asks to submit name, date of birth, zip code and date that the vaccination was done within New York State. Vishwanath says that the current system allows for the qr code to be printed, which could lead to counterfeiting.

"These aren't fool proof, these can be recreated," Vishwanath said.

When reached for comment, the state did not provide a place for people to seek help related to the Excelsior Pass. Vishwanath believes that the Excelsior Pass could become a good system for the state.

"I think this is a good start, but I think it needs to be more broadly thought through," Vishwanath said.