New York State’s Excelsior Pass is a win for those who can retrieve it. It streamlines entry into events and businesses, and it provides secure digital or physical proof (there’s a downloadable file you can print out) of COVID-19 vaccinations or negative test results. This way you don’t have to tote around your vaccination card and therefore not share other personal health information that is on the card.
However, many who are eligible are having issues retrieving their pass. You are eligible to retrieve a pass if you have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days and: you are fully vaccinated in the State of New York, and it has been 15 days or longer since your final shot; or received a negative result from a PCR test administered in the State of New York in the last 3 days; or had an antigen test administered in the State of New York in the last 6 hours, and the result was negative.
If you are like me and the others who have not been able to access their pass you will then receive a screen that informs you, “Unfortunately, we were not able to confirm your vaccination or test information from the information you entered, etc.”
To request an Excelsior Pass you first fill out an online form. The guidance is to have your vaccination card or testing information handy to reference as you enter the information requested. It asks basic info: name, date of birth, and zip code. You also must confirm that you are not a robot. The next round of questions asks you to verify your identity by requesting the date of your most recent vaccine dose, the county where you received this dose, and the type (brand) of vaccine.
I have not been able to retrieve an Excelsior Pass after eight attempts at filling out the online form (4 via my phone and 4 via a desktop). When I first tried to troubleshoot this, I called the Excelsior Pass Help Desk at (844) 699-7277 and they suggested I first confirm with the site where I was vaccinated that my information was inputted as it appears on my vaccination card. If they confirmed the information was correct to call this number again. I was vaccinated at a well-known pharmacy. I went there as instructed, and the pharmacist on duty confirmed that they had entered the information correctly, and that I was not alone in this quest. He has been visited by several people regularly who had also been denied by the Excelsior Pass site.
I then followed up with the Excelsior Pass Help Desk. I called at 9:33 a.m. on June 23. The autoreply asks you to select a language, then asks you to press 1 if you are having trouble receiving, loading, using, or showing the Excelsior Pass — or to press 2 if you are a business that would like an Excelsior Pass scanner. I pressed 1. That put me in direct contact with a staff person at 9:35 a.m., so not much of a wait. I briefly explained my circumstances, she asked if I would mind being put on a brief hold. I agreed to the hold. At 9:39 a.m. the call disconnected. I called again at 9:40 a.m. I got through the first two auto queries, and soon another staff person answered at 9:41 a.m. I briefed her on my circumstances, and also mentioned that I had just called but was disconnected when put on hold. The staff person was professional and sympathetic. She said they have been receiving a lot of calls about this issue. I asked if this is it because I was vaccinated at a pharmacy and not a NY State or City site? She mentioned there are no pharmacies listed in the system but didn’t confirm if that was a reason for not receiving the pass.
She then offered to fill out a form while I was on the line if I agreed to give her my information. I said okay. She asked: Did I participate in a vaccination trial? Had 15 or more days passed since my final dose of the vaccine? Was I vaccinated in New York State? She asked for my email. Which type (brand) of vaccine did I get? Where or what type of place was I vaccinated at? And finally, what county was I vaccinated in?
She said she sent my info in for processing, and that hopefully I would receive an email soon. She also sent an escalation form to another office and mentioned I could receive an email from either or both places. As of June 29th, there has been no response. Stay tuned!