NEWS13 September 2021

Vaccine certificates to be mandatory for larger events in Scotland

Covid-19 Leisure & Arts News Privacy Public Sector UK

UK – The Scottish Parliament has approved the introduction of Covid-19 vaccination certificates for some larger events and venues, including nightclubs, from 1st October.

Covid-19 vaccine

Members of the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of the certificates (colloquially known as vaccine passports) for nightclubs, adult entertainment venues, and some music festivals and sporting events.

From 20th September, members of the public will be able to use the NHS Scotland Covid status app to access venues where proof of vaccination is required.

If people are unable or unwilling to use the app, they can request a paper record of vaccination.

Staff at affected venues will be able to download an app ahead of the launch to allow digital checks on the certification status of attendees.

There are no plans to introduce the certification for the wider hospitality industry but the Scottish government is keeping this under review in the coming months.

In a paper outlining how the scheme will work, the Scottish government said it would continue to gather evidence from around the world on certification schemes to inform its approach.

Plans to introduce similar certification in England will not go ahead from 1st October, Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has told the BBC ahead of a press briefing from the prime minister on Tuesday ( 14th September).

The change appears to mark a U-turn in policy from the UK government after vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said they will be introduced for large venues, but the option could be kept in reserve if the government deems it necessary later.  

In Wales, ministers will decide this week whether to introduce a certification scheme. There are no current proposals for a similar scheme in Northern Ireland.

Vaccine passports have faced criticism from opposition parties and business leaders in Scotland.

More broadly, privacy campaigners have criticised the introduction of status certificates over privacy concerns and worries that they could be discriminatory.