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Scottish vaccine passports create confusion for English and international students

Edinburgh’s large non-Scottish student population are facing confusion as the imminent coronavirus vaccine passport scheme appears not to recognise covid-19 vaccines administered outside of Scotland. 

From 1 October in Scotland, crowded venues, including nightclubs and sports venues, will be legally required to ask guests to show proof of double vaccination upon entry. 

People who have received their vaccinations in Scotland are able to download their covid status certificate via the NHS Scotland Inform website.

However, vaccine passports that are available for those who were vaccinated in England – which are available for download from the UK government website – state that they are only ‘Valid in England’. 

It is currently unclear whether this validity will be expanded to allow for use in Scotland.

NHS Scotland’s records do not hold data on vaccines administered in other UK nations, meaning a Scottish vaccine passport is currently unavailable to many. 

Unless resolved, this is likely to cause problems for the approximately 75% of University of Edinburgh students who live outside Scotland. 

The issue appears to persist regardless of where students are registered with a GP. 

The Student has found that even those registered with a GP in Scotland – such as the university’s Bristo Square practice – are facing uncertainty if they received their covid vaccines in England. 

Whilst the NHS is a UK-wide service, health policy and NHS provision is a devolved matter, meaning politicians in Edinburgh and Cardiff are able to make different decisions to those in London. 

NHS Scotland’s inform helpline are advising those who were vaccinated in England to seek assistance from NHS England, however a solution to the problem has not yet been identified. 

Image: Oliver Lewis