Enforcement of Covid vaccine passports comes into effect in Scotland

Enforcement of Scotland’s controversial Covid vaccine passport scheme comes into effect from today.

Proof of full vaccination is required to enter nightclubs and large events as part of the Scottish Government’s efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus and increase vaccine take-up.

The measures technically came into effect from October 1, but an 18-day grace period was announced following backlash from affected industries and significant problems with the new app.

The policy will now be enforceable for nightclubs, strip clubs and unseated indoor events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor events with over 4,000 and any event with more than 10,000 people.

Scots will have to show proof they have had both vaccine doses, with a paper copy of the certificate or a QR code on a new app, although the latter has been plagued with problems since its launch.

Councils are responsible for ensuring venues and businesses are checking vaccine status.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Monday, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said more than 700,000 people had downloaded the app, and a further 750,000 people have a paper copy of their vaccination status.

He also addressed security concerns about the app, with opposition parties claiming too much information is shown to venues through the verification software.

“(The verification app) shows that you’ve been vaccinated, the date of that vaccination and your name – it wouldn’t be your full medical record and anyone suggesting that is incorrect,” he said.

“What we’re hoping to do is provide an update actually in the course of this week, where your name will come up and a green tick will come up, so even less information actually from this week will be available for domestic certification purposes.”

In a statement released on Sunday, Mr Yousaf said there had been “helpful feedback” from impacted businesses.

“The grace period allowed venues and businesses affected more than two weeks to test the scheme in practice and make suitable arrangements,” he said.

“It has also provided the Government with helpful feedback from the sectors affected and we continue to liaise with them going forward.

“This is a very limited scheme and we hope this will allow businesses to remain open and prevent any further restrictions as we head into autumn and winter.

“This virus has not gone away and vaccine certification will have a role to play in keeping transmission under control as part of a wider package of measures.

“It adds a further layer of protection in certain higher-risk settings.

“I also want to ensure that as many people get vaccinated as possible and particularly to increase uptake in the younger age cohort, so anything to incentivise that is helpful.”

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “The shambles that followed the release of the vaccine passport app was a predictable disaster.

“Weeks have passed and we have seen no change of plans despite concerns from the public, public health experts and businesses.

“This whole debacle has happened because the SNP are arrogant enough to believe they are right and Scotland is wrong.

“The First Minister is making this up as she goes along.

“If we want to control the virus we must look at proper resourcing of our test and protect system which has collapsed in recent weeks.

“If we want to drive up vaccination we should be going door-to-door to convince those we know are hesitant and making it easier to just walk in for an appointment.

“Instead the Government is doubling down on this mess.”

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