Problem getting the NYS Excelsior Pass app? It could be due to where you got your shots |

Problem getting the NYS Excelsior Pass app? It could be due to where you got your shots

Berkeley Brean
Created: April 28, 2021 06:18 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Right now 32% of eligible New Yorkers are fully vaccinated. 

Two weeks after that second shot you should be able to get your Excelsior Pass, an app that contains digital proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 test results. 

But we are starting to hear from people who say the system has no record of their vaccination. 

In a series of responses on Twitter, we found two common denominators: People who were in the vaccine trials last summer and people who got their shots at a pharmacy. 

Liz Veign is trying to register with the Excelsior Pass in her kitchen in Webster. She and her husband John got their second shots at Walgreens more than two weeks ago.

The app requires name, birth date and ZIP code. 

"This is what I get every single time," Liz said pointing her phone to me. 

It says "We could not find your pass." 

I got a similar complaint from a person who got their shots at Wegmans pharmacy (See Wegmans' response below).

"It puts a little anxiety," Veign said. "You're going - did it ever go through the system?"

The Veigns do have their paper vaccine cards. 

"When the vaccine passport came out I was like oh! Let's see if I'm in the mix there. And oops!" Christopher Hennelly said. 

Hennelly was part of the Pfizer trials last summer. When they opened the results in February it showed he got the vaccine, not a placebo. But when he tries to get the Excelsior Pass, the state has no record of him. 

Brean: "If you can't get this passport how are you going to prove to anybody that you're vaccinated."

Christopher Hennelly: "Do I want to carry my card around like an American Express card? Don't leave home without it. You know (holds up mask), this is my friend. Social distancing is my friend. If I can't get into a venue, I can't get into a venue. It is what it is. I think that will be resolved in time. Could I get snarky about it? Meh. But the science is more important and I'm glad what I did."

In a statement, the New York State Health Department says it's up to the providers—like pharmacies—to input the patients' information into the state's secure database. The statement says "New Yorkers are encouraged to reach out to their vaccine administrators or testing laboratories directly."

For people in vaccine trials, the state is "circling back to providers in New York State who administered vaccines as part of the clinical trials to ensure all records are added, and outreach is ongoing. New Yorkers who were trial participants are also encouraged to reach out to their providers directly."

"I knew what I was signing up for. I never knew there would be a passport but it would be nice to have," Hennelly said. 

The state says when the trials were happening in the summer, it wasn't mandatory to put patient information in the database, that's why some records are not in the system. 

I checked with Walgreens, CVS and Wegmans. 

Wegmans got back to me and said they're not hearing from customers and all their data is submitted to the state. 

"Anyone who has been unable to access their Excelsior Pass, and has confirmed the name and data they're entering matches what's on their vaccine documentation, can call the Wegmans pharmacy where they received the vaccine to verify the information in their health record as needed," spokeswoman Tracy Van Auker wrote to me in an email. 

CVS responded in an email writing, "we provide the data that the state requires through a secure process."

The health department says the paper vaccine cards are valid proof.

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