Scotland to introduce Covid vaccine passports after Nicola Sturgeon wins vote

9 September 2021, 17:55 | Updated: 9 September 2021, 19:41

Vaccination passports will be needed at large crowded events.
Vaccination passports will be needed at large crowded events. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Nicola Sturgeon has won a vote to introduce Covid vaccine passports across Scotland.

The results were close, with 68 MSPs voting in favour of the motion and 55 voting against.

The scheme is set to be introduced as early as 1 October and will mean people have to show proof of vaccination - via QR code on their phones - before entering venues such as nightclubs.

It will also apply to any event with a capacity of more than 10,000, unseated indoor events with more than 500 people and outdoor unseated events with more than 4,000 people.

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A paper on the introduction of the vaccine passports was only released by the government on Thursday morning, mere hours before the vote took place.

It stated that there would be a legal requirement for businesses to "take all reasonable measures" to ensure compliance, while the need for an offence to stop the "misuse" of the certificates was also being considered.

However, the rules will be reviewed every three weeks, with them being revoked in the long term when the government believes they are no longer necessary.

It is hoped that the introduction of vaccine passports will encourage more reluctant Scots to get vaccinated so they can continue attending events.

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.

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With one part of the UK moving forward with vaccine passport plans, people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will look on with interest.

It comes as there has been ongoing speculation on whether compulsory certification will be introduced.

Scotland's Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "We must do all we can to stem the rise in cases and vaccine certification will form part of a range measures which can help us to do this.

"It will only be used in certain higher risk settings and we hope this will allow businesses to remain open and prevent any further restrictions as we head into autumn and winter."

The vote was the first major one since the co-operation agreement between the SNP and the Greens, which helped them win the majority.