New York state quietly shuts down Excelsior Pass program that cost $250M in tax money to build

 The state of New York has quietly shut down its Excelsior Pass program that cost taxpayers $250 million. The now-defunct pass was the Empire State's version of a Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine passport.

State officials announced on June 30 that the digital vaccine passport "will no longer be available" by July 28. They cited "reduced demand for access to digital COVID-19 test and vaccine records," alongside "the official end of the COVID-19 public health emergency" last May 11, as reasons for the discontinuation.

Given this, the Empire State said it "will no longer recommend its use, provide technical support or release future versions" of the mobile app that holds the vaccine pass. "New users will be unable to log in and register for it."  

"Your data collected for [the Excelsior Pass] continues to be private and secure. [The state of] New York has gained knowledge on digital credentialing from this effort and remains interested in the potential this type of technology could bring in the future."

Jordan Schachtel of the Dossier recounted that New York City (NYC) made use of the Excelsior Pass in its "Key to NYC" vaccine passport program for over two years. Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and his successor, current Mayor Eric Adams, utilized the pass to prohibit entry to indoor facilities to those who refused to get injected with the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna injections and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

He continued: "The Excelsior Pass program began in early 2021 with an estimated cost burden of $2.5 million. It later ballooned to a sum approaching 100 times over the original budget, with an approximate amount of $250 million being handed out to IBM, Deloitte and Boston Consulting Group (BCG)."

Excelsior Pass now the subject of a probe by state inspector general

Citing state records, Schachtel wrote that Deloitte and BCG have billed taxpayers in the Empire State approximately $200 million for the pass' "marketing" and "buildout" costs since 2021. Meanwhile, IBM has billed around $40 million plus $200,000 monthly since 2021 for "data storage" fees.

A May 14 piece by the Times Union's Joshua Solomon elaborated on the state's expenditures in relation to the Excelsior Pass. Records obtained by the newspaper found that New York state has paid Deloitte and BCG almost $28 million to work on the app. IBM had also received an additional $36 million for its work on the pass, with $2.2 million in March for "application development" being the most recent payment.

Back in October 2021, Deloitte billed the state $3.6 million in Excelsior Pass costs. Two months later in December 2021, BCG billed the state for nearly $10 million in costs related to its work in reopening New York and on the Excelsior Pass.

"The money spent on the Excelsior Pass, and its accompanying 'wallet,' continued to flow to the consulting groups, even as the peak of the pandemic passed and the need for the app plummeted," the Times Union piece noted. "The work by BCG and Deloitte was just one element of $200 million that flowed from New York to those firms that are now the subject of a state inspector general's investigation. As the nation's COVID-19 emergency fades from the front page, the spending renews the debate about New York's ongoing use of contracts that were amended without public oversight during the pandemic."

"While a handful of people in New York took action to protest against the authoritarian movement pass system, the vast majority of New Yorkers were happy to accommodate the bio-medical tyranny," Schachtel pointed out. "In NYC, virtually every business complied with the program either out of sympathy or for fear of being shut down by the government."

He ultimately remarked: "That's $250 million down the drain, and on to the next 'crisis.'"

New York state quietly shuts down Excelsior Pass program that cost $250M in tax money to build New York state quietly shuts down Excelsior Pass program that cost $250M in tax money to build Reviewed by Your Destination on July 08, 2023 Rating: 5

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