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Covid passport plans delayed
by Josh Bartholomew, 12/10/21

The requirement to provide covid vaccine certification to enter nightclubs in Scotland has been delayed and will now come into law on 18 October.

The announcement of the delay was made by Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday 28 September shortly before the launch of the NHS Scotland Covid certification app on Thursday 30 September.

The launch of the app was labelled “disastrous” and a “shambles”, with many users reportedly being unable to register and prove their vaccination status.

More than 70,000 people downloaded the app on its first day, but problems arose when users were asked to input their NHS number.

A spokesperson for the SNP blamed the problems on “huge demand”, and said that they were “sorry that [problems] happened.”

“We have now increased the capacity of the NHS systems that sit behind the app – where most of the issues causing delays have occurred – in order to deal with demand and, as a result, we are seeing increasing numbers of people now able to access their record,” the spokesperson said.

Although the double vaccination requirement to enter nightclubs had initially been scheduled to come into force on 5 October, pressure from nightclub owners and the hospitality industry prompted Sturgeon to delay her plans so that businesses could “test, adapt and build confidence in the practical arrangements they will need to put in place to be compliant with the scheme.”

The covid certification scheme will now come into effect on 18 October.

Despite the app’s technical problems, elements of Edinburgh’s nightlife have already begun requiring vaccination status upon entry, including the Edinburgh University Student Association’s ‘Big Cheese’ event, which asks for proof of double vaccination.

After 18 October, nightclubs and other indoor venues will be required to conduct rigorous checks of vaccination status, facilitated by NHS Scotland’s Covid certification app.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which previously launched an unsuccessful legal challenge against the SNP’s covid certification plans, lambasted the scheme’s teething problems.

“It has become very clear that the Scottish app is simply not fit for purpose and the vast majority of people are experiencing repeated problems in registering and uploading their personal vaccine status to the app.

“The NTIA has repeatedly warned Scottish government of just how unworkable their vaccine passport plan is, and the disastrous launch of this flawed scheme has proved that our warnings were well founded.”

In response, the Scottish government maintained that the scheme was a crucial means of controlling the spread of coronavirus, despite the fact that new covid cases have been falling in Scotland since 9 September.

Douglas Ross, Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said that the plan should be “scrapped altogether, but, if the SNP insist on charging ahead, they must indefinitely delay the vaccine passport scheme until the most basic issues are ironed out.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie labelled the app’s launch a “complete shambles”, adding that it was “typical of the SNP to rush this out when it clearly doesn’t work.”

Image: Dumbarton Reporter