Members of the public in Scotland were able to request a paper copy or PDF document as proof their vaccination status, the online app version was supposed to have gone live on Thursday. The NHS app was finally launched following minsters being grilled as to the delay, which resulted in the app appearing at 5.10pm
The Scottish First Minister has been fighting hard to justify plans to oblige Scotts to prove their vaccination status prior to entering nightclubs, music venues and large outdoor events.
Justifying the introduction of the passport scheme to similar examples across Europe, Ms Sturgeon said: “An increasing number of countries across Europe are already using vaccine certification on a much more wide-ranging basis than we are.”
Citing examples seen in France, the First Minister went on to say: “They’re seeing in some cases, France for example, it’s pushing up rates of vaccination uptake and also helping to constrain and reduce transmission.”
The Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar slammed the proposal saying: “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.”
Just over half of GP appointments took place in person
Tackling the issue of the delay in the app, Deputy Scottish Labour Party Leader, Jackie Ballie called the idea “half-baked”.
She said: “If only the SNP had spent their time trying to fix ou failing test and protect system rather than concocting new, half-baked ideas.”
The Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross added: “Guidance is still being published and the government’s flimsy evidence case for this policy only appeared before the Scottish Parliament a day before the scheme goes live.”
Mr Ross added: “The app was supposed to be downloadable from Thursday, but with hours to go until the scheme begins, there was no sign of it.”
He concluded: “No other government in Europe is running a scheme that relies purely on vaccination status and bans people from venues unless they can produce official paperwork.”
Nightclub bosses in Scotland, who have like many others across the country suffered a loss of earnings as a result of the pandemic sought to delay the introduction of the scheme.
However, a judge’s ruling citing that the claim had not demonstrated that the scheme was disproportionate, irrational or unreasonable rejected the appeal.
The SNP leader said: “All along, I’ve been very candid and clear – none of us want to be in this position, none of us want to be having to take any of the steps we’ve had to take over 18 months now to seek to contain a virus, keep people safe and try to limit the health and other damage that this virus does.”
Justifying the roll-out of the scheme, yet still avoiding the grounds for the delay on the app, the First Minister said: “ This is a targeted and proportionate way to try to reduce the harm that the virus can do over the winter months while keeping our economy fully open, fully functional and fully trading.”
Although Scottish nightclub owners were on the losing side in appealing the decision, the impact being felt has not gone away.
Speaking of the scheme, Donald MacLeod, owner of a string of venues said: “I don’t think it’s been thought through. If a vaccine passport is being brought in, it should be one for all, all for one. It should not just target clubs and events.”
Of the financial impact that the scheme will cause, Mr MacLeoad said: “It’s going to be very damaging. It’s treating the industry with contempt and turning those that don’t have it into second class citizens.”