Vaccine Cards, Excelsior Passes, and Immunization Records, Oh My!

August 27, 2021

Excelsior Pass

Believe it or not, summer’s already winding down on Long Island. As fall approaches and the thermometer drops, outdoor COVID-safe activities will become fewer and far between. Luckily for us, our island is home to exciting activities for all seasons, both indoors and outdoors. Beautiful trails, incredible beaches, and plenty of indoor entertainment opportunities are right in our own backyards.  One COVID-safe activity you can always do, vaccinated or not, is to simply walk.  Check out a list of places to walk on Long Island here.  Walking remains one of the best forms of physical activity and helps you better manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, stress and anxiety, and diabetes.  And certainly, most everyone’s stress levels increased due to the disruption of COVID – so consider to keep walking to knock out that stress.  

Meanwhile, as COVID cases are increasing due to the Delta variant, so is vaccine surveillance.  Long Island has one of the highest positivity rates right now in the state. That means we can expect more businesses, entertainment venues, and other community gathering spaces to check vaccination status and/or for a very recent negative COVID-19 test.  

Be Ready with Your Proof

Unlike New York City, Long Island has not yet required those 12 years of age and older to show proof of vaccination for indoor dining, indoor fitness, and indoor entertainment.  But due to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) recent approval of the Pfizer vaccine, more venues in more areas— including long Island— may adopt similar policies in the not-so-distant future.

Keep It in Your Virtual Pocket or Not

New York State has made it easy for residents to never forget their vaccination card.  The Excelsior Pass app provides secure, digital proof of your COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results, handy on your mobile phone. Excelsior Pass Plus is a secure, digital copy of your COVID-19 vaccination record or negative test results. An alternative is to take a photo of your vaccination card with your phone.  Then, of course, you can always carry the actual card in your physical wallet.   

Remember Be Proactive— Long Island May Follow the City’s Lead

In light of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 16 and older on August 23, many speculate that other regions may be thinking about following New York City’s lead by employing vaccine mandates.

“Many individuals were hesitant about getting vaccinated due to lack of FDA approval,” said Janine Logan, Director of the Long Island Health Collaborative and Vice President of Communications and Population Health for the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State (SHANYS) and its regional entities: the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association (NorMet) and the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council (NSHC), which oversees the LIHC.

“Thanks to the FDA’s recent green light, businesses can feel more comfortable requiring their patrons to show proof of vaccination, and those hesitant individuals can more confidently make the choice to get vaccinated, not only for their own health, but for the health of their community,” Logan said. The Suburban Hospital Alliance is doing its part on behalf of Long Island to help vaccine hesitant individuals feel comfortable in making a decision to get vaccinated through the organization’s’ “Have You Herd?” campaign. It draws from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

While more vaccination policies may be coming to Long Island, they’re off to a slow but steady start according to a recent Newsday feature on the topic. All healthcare workers in New York State must receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 27. Most restaurants maintain signage encouraging face-coverings for non-vaccinated individuals, but most haven’t announced a proof of vaccination requirement. According to another Newsday article, The Black Sheep Ale House in Mineola may be the first hospitality venue on Long Island to mandate that all customers and workers be vaccinated.

The future is uncertain, so make sure you’re prepared for anything. If you’re vaccinated, be sure to obtain at least one form of proof of your vaccination, if not multiple. Unvaccinated Long Islanders: we know it’s a tough decision. If you’re unvaccinated and you still have lingering questions, get the answers you need to make a confident, informed decision about the vaccine.