Governor Hochul Announces Acceptance of Puerto Rico’s COVID-19 Vacu ID Pass Through the Excelsior Pass Platform for Business Entry in New York State
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced digital COVID-19 vaccination credentials issued from Puerto Rico will immediately be accepted through New York State’s Excelsior Pass Scanner application. Similarly, the State’s Excelsior Pass Plus will be accepted through Puerto Rico’s CESCO digital verifier application. This means fully vaccinated Puerto Ricans and New Yorkers can use their compatible vaccination credentials for business entry in New York State and Puerto Rico, respectively. According to the latest Census data, more than one million people who identify as Puerto Rican live in New York State. This latest development in the broadening acceptance and reach of Excelsior Pass is another example of New York State’s close partnership with Puerto Rico and commitment to New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent.
“New York State is proud to work with our partners in Puerto Rico to ensure compatibility across our COVID-19 vaccine pass systems,” Governor Hochul said. “This important partnership will accelerate the continued return of safe travel, commerce, and economic development activity. As New York State continues to lead in the development and innovation of the Excelsior Pass platform, we are also working with partners across the U.S. and around the world to expand the use of secure vaccination credentials. This has become a real utility for real New York families, workers, and travelers – making a real impact on everyday life.”
New York State was the first-in-the-nation to launch a COVID-19 credential system, and since, has worked with partners across the U.S. and beyond to support the development and launch of compatible vaccination passes – empowering even more people in and outside of New York to have access to a trustworthy, privacy-preserving digital vaccination record. As announced by Governor Hochul on Oct. 5, New York State’s Excelsior Pass Scanner application was updated to enable the validation of other passes that meet the state’s standards of issuance. These standards include the definition of fully vaccinated based on federal and state COVID-19 public health guidance, which include both CDC- and WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines, enabling businesses to accept more patrons coming from outside of New York. Following today’s announcement, this includes SMART Health Cards issued from Puerto Rico as well as Canada, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Louisiana, Virginia, Washington, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Utah.
Chief Innovation and Information Officer of Puerto Rico Enrique Völckers-Nin said, “Our administration is aware of the fact that New York is a destination visited by thousands of people traveling from Puerto Rico to see their loved ones, as well as for business purposes. To expedite the process of showing proof of vaccination against COVID-19 upon arrival, we have developed a collaboration that will allow New York’s acceptance of VacuID, the digital vaccination credential initiative issued by Puerto Rico’s government. Both authorities have combined efforts, knowledge, and technological advances since day one, yet another example of the relationship and collaboration between our administrations. We are confident that this initiative will facilitate free movement between both jurisdictions of the United States.”
State Budget Director Robert F. Mujica Jr. said, “Excelsior Pass and the partnerships New York State has forged have underpinned the safe and secure return of tourism, business travel, and commerce — major economic drivers for the State. Today’s announcement builds on this, particularly for New Yorkers and Puerto Ricans who travel, work, and have family between these two destinations. We thank Puerto Rico for their partnership in this effort and the multidisciplinary team working across New York State to continually innovate this toolset in ways that directly support citizens.”
State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, “The Excelsior Pass platform empowers New Yorkers to be more in control of their health information than ever before, with direct access to their COVID-19 immunization status. The free platform and scanner application, available in multiple languages, have become an important feature of the State’s pandemic response at every phase – directly supporting and promoting public health policy and measures. Compatibility with Puerto Rico expands on this utility – and I thank Governor Hochul for her leadership, our partners in Puerto Rico, and the collaborative work happening across the State to make this possible.”
The State’s proof of vaccination or masking requirement remains in effect for all indoor public spaces, making the Excelsior Pass Scanner application an important component of the State’s reopening efforts. To date, over 198,000 downloads of the Excelsior Pass Scanner application have been made – representing integration across thousands of New York businesses who continue to leverage Excelsior Pass to easily and seamlessly verify an individual’s vaccination status. As the state continues to evolve and expand the Excelsior Pass solution architecture to meet new needs of New Yorkers and businesses, more support is being offered to other states and entities to accelerate the development of interoperable solutions. On October 27, Governor Hochul announced the availability of New York State’s Excelsior Pass Blueprint – the nation’s first framework to assist other states and governments in the development of digital health credentials, based on the Excelsior Pass platform.
To date, over 9.6 million Excelsior Passes including over 2.8 million Excelsior Passes Plus have been issued. New Yorkers are encouraged to retrieve their Excelsior Vaccination Pass Plus for a Pass option that includes their booster or additional dose and be used in Puerto Rico as well as other places where SMART Health Cards may be accepted. As a secure copy of an individual’s vaccination record, an Excelsior Pass Plus does not expire. New York parents and guardians can retrieve and hold an Excelsior Pass Plus for their children.
New Yorkers can retrieve their Excelsior Pass Plus here.
Organizations and businesses can learn more about the Excelsior Pass Scanner app—free for any business nationwide and available in more than ten languages—and New York State’s Trusted Issuers framework here.
To download New York State’s Excelsior Pass Blueprint, visit the link here.