State Watch

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.

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

To obtain an Excelsior Pass New Yorkers must download an app, which then generates a secure QR code that participating businesses and venues can scan to verify proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.

New York in March was the first and only state to implement a vaccine passport-type platform.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) in April approved a vaccine passport program for inter-island travel, which went into effect last month, allowing Hawaii residents to travel between islands without having to undergo pre-travel testing or mandatory quarantining.

The conversation surrounding vaccine passports, however, has become a political flashpoint, with a number of Republican governors prohibiting public institutions from requiring proof of vaccination.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) last month both signed executive orders prohibiting vaccine passports in their states.

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

The general public, however, has shown support for vaccine passports to travel by airplane and attend events with large crowds, but not in all other public areas.

A Gallup poll released last month found that 57 percent of Americans would favor proof of vaccination for airplane travel, with 43 percent saying they would oppose such a measure.

Additionally, 55 percent of respondents said they favored requiring vaccine passports for attending events that have large crowds, such as sporting events and concerts, compared to 45 percent who said they were opposed.

The numbers, however, shifted when discussing proof of vaccination for dining at restaurants, going to work and staying in hotels.

Sixty percent of those surveyed said they were opposed to requiring vaccine passports for restaurant dining, and 55 percent said they were against requiring proof to go to work.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they were against requiring proof for staying in a hotel.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week said that the U.S. is taking “a very close look” at vaccine passports for international travel.

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Andrew Cuomo Brian Kemp coronavirus vaccine COVID-19 vaccine Kay Ivey vaccine passport

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