New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Excelsior Pass and Excelsior Pass Plus are now available to all military veterans who received their COVID-19 vaccines at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital or health care facility located within the state of New York.
“As we fight the winter surge, it’s more important than ever that New Yorkers get vaccinated and have access to the Excelsior Pass,” Governor Hochul said in a press release. “From health care to housing, New Yorkers who served our country deserve care and respect when they return home.”
Governor Hochul issued an executive order that began the process to allow the VA to transmit COVID-19 related immunization records. Through this coordination, the VA had the authority to provide this data to enable its veterans to participate in the Excelsior Pass programs.
Now the NY Office of Information Technology Services, Division of Veterans’ Services, Department of Health, Executive Chamber, and representatives from the Federal government worked together to ensure that nearly 117,000 military veterans residing in NY can retrieve their secure proof of vaccination from the State’s Excelsior Pass platform and fully participate in the NY’s reopening.
“Many veterans, their spouses, and their caregivers received their COVID-19 vaccinations at VA medical facilities and deserve the ability to prove their vaccination status using the Excelsior Pass and the Excelsior Pass Plus,” Division of Veterans’ Services Director Viviana DeCohen said in a press release. “This collaborative effort across all levels of government, [ensure] these VA-vaccinated veterans and their family members now can obtain and use these passes to demonstrate their full vaccination status and take an active role in New York’s safe reopening efforts.”
New York was the first state to launch a proof of COVID-19 vaccination, and negative test results pass system, with more than 8.4 million Excelsior Passes, including over 2 million Excelsior Passes Plus, issued since March 2021. The toolset continues to be critically important in supporting the state’s reopening efforts, public health, and economic development simultaneously.