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Vaccine passports approved for use in Scotland

The Scottish parliament has voted to introduce a requirement for people to show evidence of double vaccination when entering crowded venues, including nightclubs.   

The law will come into force from 1 October, however the requirement to show a QR code or paper document proving double vaccination will only apply to those over the age of 18. 

In addition to nightclubs, vaccine passports will be required to enter: any event with more than 10,000 people in attendance; outdoor ‘unseated’ events with more than 4000 people; and indoor ‘unseated’ events with more than 500 people.

Those who are medically unable to take the vaccine will be exempt from the scheme. 

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The Deputy First Minister John Swinney described the move as a “proportionate response” to the continued risk from Covid-19.

Both the SNP and the Scottish Greens voted for the measure, despite senior figures from each party opposing the law earlier this year.

Thursday’s debate in parliament included accusations of a lack of clarity by the Scottish government on the issue, particularly due to it not outlining a clear definition of a nightclub. 

The Scottish Liberal Democrats opposed the law at Holyrood due to concerns about an infringement of civil liberties. Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour also voted against despite the parties supporting a similar measure at Westminster for England. 

Speaking to The Student, a third year University of Edinburgh student said:

“I think that it’s generally a good way to protect public health but it really discriminates against those who recently had covid and therefore weren’t able to get the double dose yet.

“It makes even less sense considering that those who recently had covid have more antibodies than those who are vaccinated.”

A YouGov poll revealed that a majority of 18-24 year olds either ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ support vaccine passports for large events. 

Opposition to the vaccine passports has come in the form of a group called ‘Big Brother Watch’, who have called the vote a “crushing moment for civil liberties in Scotland”. 

For Edinburgh’s student community, this will mean business as usual for nightlife during welcome week which begins on Monday, with the law then introduced around three weeks into the academic term. Large sporting events will also be affected. 

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