Covid-19 vaccine certificate legally enforced in Scotland

The covid-19 vaccine certification scheme became enforceable by law on 18 October 2021 in Scotland. This followed a seventeen-day grace period after the scheme was originally announced to begin on 1 October this year. 

The grace period was enacted to allow venues and businesses time to test the procedure required. The scheme requires all adults over the age of eighteen years of age to produce proof of their vaccine when entering a high risk setting or venue in Scotland. 

These venues and settings are nightclubs with designated dance areas, casinos, unseated indoor events with more than five hundred people, unseated outdoor events with more than four thousand and then any event with more than ten thousand people. 

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, said, “a targeted certification scheme does have a part to play in driving vaccination rates up as high as possible, and providing an additional layer of protection.” 

The scheme does not affect the whole hospitality industry. If a business, venue or local pub does not fall within the aforementioned target areas of the scheme the public will not be required to show their vaccine certificate. 

However, the Scottish government has said they will keep the list of venues required to ask for proof of vaccination under review. 

The scheme will not be applied to public services or settings in which an individual has no choice but to attend. These services and settings include public transport, medical services, schools and shops. 

The lawful enactment of this scheme comes following weeks of rising covid-19 cases across the United Kingdom. 

By 17 October, cases were up by 23 per cent from the previous week. Cases are currently higher than they were last year during the same time period. 

Death rates, although lower when compared to this time last year, are rising. 

45,140 new infections were recorded on 17 October across the entire United Kingdom, although cases fell to 36,567 new infections on 25 October. 

The Scottish government has come under criticism for its covid-19 vaccine certificate scheme and the initial grace period. Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, has been one of the main critics. The party called for a vote to have the scheme scrapped. 

Anas Sarwar of the United Kingdom Labour Party has called for a greater emphasis on testing by the Scottish government prior to the scheme being implemented. 

Sarwar said, “making sure someone is negative going into a venue is still more important than if they are vaccinated.” 

The thoughts of students at the University of Edinburgh with regards to the vaccine certificate scheme are varied. 

Capucine, a postgraduate student at the university, when asked if the scheme made her feel safer when going out, said that the scheme did not make her feel any safer when going out. 

Aliaa, another postgraduate student at the university, told The Student

“Having a vaccine does not mean you are immune to the virus and don’t have it. They should implement testing instead.” 

Hiroki, a student at the university, added that he thought the scheme was good in helping reduce the number of hospitalizations but that it was vague and unfair in its implementation. 

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