Vaccine passports planned for some events in Scotland from October 1
Attendance at large events will require a vaccine passport from October 1, under Scottish Government plans.
A paper released just hours before MSPs are due to vote on the scheme stated there would be a legal requirement for businesses to “take all reasonable measures” to ensure compliance, while ministers are also considering if there is a need for an offence to stop the “misuse” of the certificates.
The scheme will make a QR code available through a smart phone app, which will be scanned before entry is allowed to nightclubs or similar venues, adult entertainment, unseated indoor events with more than 500 people, outdoor unseated events with more than 4,000 people or any event with more than 10,000 in attendance.
Certification provides a targeted and proportionate means to reduce risk while maximising our ability to keep open certain settings and events where transmission is a higher risk
It is also hoped that mandating the use of vaccine passports will encourage more reluctant Scots to get vaccinated so they are able to attend.
“In line with our strategic intent to ‘suppress the virus to a level consistent with alleviating its harms while we recover and rebuild for a better future’, a Covid vaccine certification scheme will aid us in reducing the rate and impact of transmission,” the paper said.
It added: “Where someone does catch the virus, being vaccinated significantly reduces the likelihood of serious harm or death and in doing so alleviate pressure on the healthcare system.
“As a result, certification provides a targeted and proportionate means to reduce risk while maximising our ability to keep open certain settings and events where transmission is a higher risk.
“In addition, the need to be vaccinated is expected to encourage the remaining sections of the eligible population yet to be vaccinated to take up the offer of the vaccine.”
Regulations will be introduced by the Scottish Government and reviewed every three weeks, with the rules to be revoked when they are deemed no longer necessary.
People under 18, those who are medically exempt, participating in vaccine trials or who are employees within venues will not have to show certification to gain entry.
While MSPs will vote on the issue on Thursday afternoon, the scheme is yet to be finalised, with a passage of the paper saying: “We are working with a range of stakeholders to finalise the design of the scheme.
“These stakeholders include local government, NHS Boards and businesses/representative organisations in sectors that will be required to implement a certification scheme.”
The paper also does not define what a nightclub is, saying: “The Scottish Government is working with stakeholders to finalise a definition that will ensure the intended public health benefit, but not result in market distortion or displacement.”
Ahead of the vote at Holyrood on Thursday afternoon, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said businesses had raised concerns about the scheme.
He said: “The First Minister has published a document this morning that contains no evidence that this will make a difference and no details of how it will work.
“She references nightclubs, this document suggests we still don’t know what ‘nightclubs’ means. And they will be expected to introduce these measures in three weeks’ time.”
He added: “There are businesses that will be impacted like this that have longer cocktails than this document.”
The First Minister said consultations were ongoing with the industry.
Nicola Sturgeon said: “An increasing number of countries across Europe are already using vaccine certification already using on a much more wide-ranging basis than we are.
“They’re seeing in some cases, France for example, it pushing up rates of vaccination uptake and also helping to constrain and reduce transmission.”