PASSPORTS: Covid-19 Vaccination certification

By Lucy Ashton

Coronavirus vaccination certificates will be required to enter certain events and higher risk venues, such as nightclubs, music festivals and some football grounds, if Parliament backs the move in a vote planned for next week.

While Covid cases continue to rise and to avoid as little disruption to the economy as possible, the Scottish Parliament will be asked to vote on the introduction of the certification scheme which will only be implemented once all adults have had the opportunity to receive both doses of the vaccine. Children and adults that are ineligible for vaccination will be exempt.

Proof of vaccination will be required later this month to enter:

  • nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
  • unseated indoor live events, with more than 500 people in the audience
  • unseated outdoor live events, with more than 4,000 people in the audience
  • any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance

There are currently no plans to introduce certification for the wider hospitality industry but this will be kept under review over the autumn and winter months.

From Friday 3 September, people will be able to download a PDF copy of their vaccination certificate, with a personalised QR code, to print off instantly or store on their mobile phone for use domestically or internationally. This is in addition to the existing paper letters that can be requested from NHS Inform and the Covid Vaccine Status helpline.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, right,  said: “We do not want to reimpose any of the restrictions that have been in place for much of this year as we all know how much harm they have caused to businesses, to education and to people’s general wellbeing but we must stem the rise in cases.

“In addition to measures such as free testing and the installation of CO2 monitors in schools, we believe that a limited use of vaccine certification in certain higher risk settings, could help us to keep businesses open and prevent any further restrictions as we head into autumn and winter.

“They will be for use in very limited settings and never for public services such as transport, hospitals and education. This is a significant step forward and not a decision we have taken lightly but it is in line with certification in other European countries.

“The original protective measures such as wearing a face covering, physical distancing, hand washing and isolating when necessary are still key to reducing prevalence of the virus but getting vaccinated remains the single most important step that any of us can take to keep ourselves and others safe.

“Ensuring that as many people as possible get vaccinated remains a key priority and the Scottish Government will continue to do everything we can to improve on the already high up take of the vaccine. We continue to urge anyone aged 16 and over to get vaccinated, please find your local drop-in clinic by visiting NHS Inform.”

To get a copy of your vaccine status certificate go to the NHS Inform website. You can also get a copy of your vaccine status by phoning the COVID-19 Status Helpline on 0808 196 8565.

MSPs will be asked to vote on the introduction of Covid Vaccination Certification next week, contingent on agreement from the Parliamentary Bureau.

If the scheme is approved by parliament, it will then be subject to parliamentary review every three weeks, in line with previous Covid-19 measures.

The addition of 2D Barcodes (also known as QR Codes) to Scotland’s certification process adheres to EU standards.  They have been successfully tested with a number of European nations, and provide additional security features that helps ensure the validity of the certificate.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar will not be supporting Vaccine Passports, and here, in his own words, is why:

This Thursday, the Scottish Parliament will debate and vote on the Scottish Government’s plans for domestic vaccine passports.
Scottish Labour will not support domestic vaccine passports. Here’s why.
Firstly, this is not opposition for opposition’s sake. We have supported the Government at key moments throughout the pandemic.
This is also not an ideological opposition.
This is about what works, what will make an actual difference and what will keep people safe.
Make no mistake, we are at a critical moment in our fight against the pandemic.
The daily infection rates are at record levels since the pandemic began.
This latest decision by the government is more an attempt to look in control of a virus that is clearly out of control.
We fear that mandatory use of domestic vaccine passports could have unintended consequences and the opposite effect of what the government intends.
Recent research due to be published by the Lancet has suggested that schemes requiring proof of vaccination may actually be more likely to increase or entrench vaccine hesitancy among harder to reach groups.
We have deep concerns about whether such a scheme could be effectively implemented and whether it would place an excessive burden on the hospitality and events industries who have already been hit hard by the pandemic.
Although vaccines have proven to be effective at reducing the risk of severe disease and hospitalisation, it is still possible for fully vaccinated individuals to get the virus and pass it on, especially so with the Delta variant.
The priority should therefore be on actions that will reduce the number of Covid-19 cases and so proof of a negative test should be explored for large scale events rather than vaccine passports.
Individual businesses and events should be able to make decisions to require vaccine or testing evidence if they wish, but to make certification mandatory for certain events by government decree is the wrong use of the government’s time and resource and could lead to unintended consequences.
The Government’s immediate focus should be on fixing their existing tools, rather than introducing a whole new system.
Most importantly, the government needs to fix the failing Test and Protect system and tackle low vaccine uptake amongst certain groups of the population. We need to win the argument on vaccines, not entrench hesitancy.
We should be strengthening the vaccine programme through greater use of mobile and walk-in vaccination centres, particularly in schools, events and areas of low vaccine coverage.
We all want to keep people safe and save lives, but it is important that we take steps that will make a measurable difference.
That’s why Scottish Labour will not support the government’s vaccine passport plans.

One comment

  1. 21st Century reincarnation of 20th Century South African Pass Laws.

    Digital ID, digital tracking. It’s the end of personal freedom. Make no mistake about that.

    Others would correctly call it totalitarianism. Labour are absolutely right opposing this. Time the SNP were out of office.

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