August 30, 2021

Repairing your COVID-19 Vaccine record with the DOH (for NYC), an ongoing saga; updated: resolved!

How to prove you’re vaccinated for COVID-19

In NYC, you can currently prove your vaccination status in 3 ways:
1. The paper CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card that you received when you were vaccinated
2. By uploading a picture of your vaccination record card to the NYC COVID SAFE app
3. By logging in and receiving QR-code credentials from the NY State Excelsior app that is connected to local health authorities’ records

The problem with #1 is slippery fingers—what to do if you misplace/lose things. The problem with #2 is any picture can be uploaded and there is no verification at work

Which leaves #3—the Excelsior app. 

But the roll-out for NY State's Excelsior app has been far from perfect—and my COVID-19 immunization record appears to have been lost in the shuffle:

Though I have my paper vaccination record card on hand, I'd like to be verified on the Excelsior app and also have my records up-to-date at the local DOH. I've been googling and calling phone numbers left and right, so I figured I would record my experience here until this gets resolved...

A Couple of Dead Ends

There's a ton of articles and official guides out there on how to repair your record that all say rather vaguely to:
reach out to their vaccine administrators or testing sites directly.

I was vaccinated in early 2021, so both city-run sites that I was vaccinated at no longer administer vaccines. This leaves me with no idea how to get in touch with the site and/or administrators! There is also no contact information on any of my scheduling emails. 

So I continued googling further, and somewhere along the way saw that some people had success calling the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR) at 347-396-2400. I called, and someone surprisingly answered very quickly. She gave a frustrated laugh that yet another person was calling about their COVID-19 immunization record. She pointed me toward the CIR email ( and told me to write them with the following information: 
  • full name
  • address
  • dates of vaccinations
  • type of vaccine
  • phone number 
And told me the CIR would take 2 weeks to resolve the issue and reply. 
Bear in mind the header of this section, this direction has largely been a dead's been two weeks and I haven't heard back...

What is the deal???

According to the New York Times
If nearly all information does not match what the vaccination agency entered, even because of a typo, it will not generate the pass. Some 4 percent of users who tried to get passes in the app’s opening months were unable to, the state said.

And it seems like some bad software development/database management is to blame...

Not until June, the contract indicates, did the app make it possible for someone who has periods in their name (like T.J.) to retrieve a pass.
After three attempts, in which I reentered the same information each time, it worked. 
The hiccups in the state's immunization database, which are causing Excelsior Pass registrants to see a dreaded "We couldn't find your pass" screen appear on the registration website, are apparently being caused by a mix of clerical errors, inconsistent data gathering and the occasional cases in which people with identical names — but different birthdates — are being rejected because the system has merged their identities.


Where I'm at now

After the 2-week mark had passed on getting a reply from the CIR, I tried looking for a solution once again. This time, I called the Excelsior Pass Help Desk at 844-699-7277. I swear, when I called this line 2 weeks ago, I was passed off to an unending line of prompts that ended up never getting me to a human being. This time however I was able to talk to a person rather quickly, who was able to look up my record! It turned out that at my 2nd vaccination, the vaccine administrator never input my phone number and zip code. (!!!)

I was given a phone number to call to make updates to my immunization record, and I was super excited until...I saw that it was the number for the General Inquiries NYC 311 hotline (212-639-9675). I called this number and an exhausted phone operator walked me through the 311 website to get to the "My Vaccination Record" page. From here, I checked my record, and indeed an error message appeared, and I was pointed toward a form that I could fax/mail in order to correct my record:

I'm faxing this sucker in with additional information on my situation, and we'll just have to see what happens from be continued...

Update 9/8/21—all good now!

Weeks after all of this, I finally got an email that my record was updated:

And sure enough, I tried to get my pass this morning, and it worked:

success !     ヽ(✿゚▽゚)ノ