Vaccination checks for many indoor spaces end next week, but lots of restaurants, bars, theaters, museums, and concert venues will continue to require proof of at least two doses for entry. And with the New York State’s Excelsior Pass set to expire on June 30, now’s a good time to think about upgrading to the expiration-free Excelsior Pass Plus.
It’s pretty easy to do — just visit epass.ny.gov and enter your name, date of birth, zip code, phone number, type of vaccine, and date of each dose. NY State’s system verifies the information with the statewide database and creates an individualized QR code available to print or to store on your phone. The app is not without its quirks, however, and some have found that clerical discrepancies can lead to difficulty in obtaining the pass.
Reader Anne Yerger offered a useful tip: “My Excelsior Pass Plus somehow had my middle name as my first. I called (844) 699-7277, and spoke with the Pass’s Help Team. They pretty quickly figured out how to fix the problem. No one had spotted it when matching my driver’s license with the pass, but it bothered me. I let it go for months until I called.”
Only 36% of Manhattanites have received the COVID-19 booster, despite findings that 2 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines provided minimal protection against symptomatic cases of the omicron variant. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness against symptomatic disease dropped from 65% to 8% six months after the second dose of the first vaccination series. Moderna’s effectiveness similarly fell from 71% to 15% in the same period. Results showed that receiving a third booster dose returned protection levels similar to those directly after the initial vaccination series.
Whether boosters become mandated as proof of full vaccination is up for debate — several attempts to implement a booster requirement for healthcare workers have stalled — but a need for digital vaccination passports is still likely for the foreseeable future.
Trisha Doss told us: “If you download New York Covid Safe, you can take photographs of both your ID and your vaccination card. It’s accepted everywhere in the city and it is way easier to access on your phone than Excelsior.”
Added Jo Ferro: “I tried for weeks on end to get my Excelsior Pass to update and it only finally did last week, just out of the blue when I tried it again. I now have the NYC Covid Safe app downloaded too, just in case Excelsior flakes…which it did to me one day. All records disappeared on the app when I went to use it.”
And if digital just isn’t your scene, you can always go analog and bring a copy or take a photo of your original vaccination card for easy proof!