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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs
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As Virginia-based East Coast Polytechnic Institute (ECPI) University looks to roll back campus capacity limits and mask requirements, the school has launched a blockchain-based vaccine passport for students and faculty.

In a press release, EPCI University said it is issuing its own vaccination certificate (VAX PASS), which will allow students and staff to quickly move past screening stations and access facilities and elevators at higher occupancies.

“We have a portal for students to upload their vaccination proof, and that will quickly trigger the issuance of a digital VAX PASS in the University’s mobile app as well as a verifiable certificate on blockchain,” ECPI University’s CIO Jeff Arthur said.

ECPI University said it selected a blockchain-based passport because the technology is “virtually un-hackable.” Since launching VAX PASS, the school says it has already issued more than 2,500 VAX PASS certificates and it expects that number to increase to 10,000 over the summer as more students get vaccinated.

Other schools have also opted to use vaccine and COVID status passports to ensure student and faculty safety ahead of the fall semester. Several New York state schools, including State University of New York campuses, Syracuse University, Pace University, and Long Island University, have announced they will use the state’s Excelsior vaccine passport program for large events, such as sporting events.

Unlike the VAX PASS, the Excelsior Pass doesn’t just verify vaccine status but also can verify COVID-19 test result credentials. The program uses a verification app to enable the verification of health credentials. The app, developed in partnership with IBM, is similar to a mobile airline boarding pass. Users can either print their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass’ “Wallet App.”

Each pass has a secure QR code that venues can scan to confirm someone’s COVID health status.

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