Scotland’s vaccine passport programme will not be extended in any way

Scotland’s vaccine passport programme will not be extended in any way

The first minister had considered included cinemas, theatres, and other entertainment venues in the plan's scope.

Nevertheless, she argued with MSPs that doing so would be disproportionate, given that the number of cases had decreased.

Those who have already had two jabs will be able to enter venues covered by the scheme from December 6 if they present a negative test instead of proof.

These include nightclubs and large events like some football matches and concerts, which would bring Scotland's system into line with others in nations like Wales.

In order to prevent the spread of the virus over the holidays, a lateral flow test should be performed before socialising with others, according to Ms Sturgeon.
Ms Sturgeon had previously told MSPs that it may assist "get through what will be a hard winter without having to restore restrictions on commerce" if more venues were added to the initiative.

Scots are facing a choice between extending their vaccine passport system or closing down venues and restricting how many people can attend events.

In the end, ministers opted to do neither after reviewing the most recent statistics at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

There is "substantial and ongoing" pressure on Scotland's NHS, but the statistics is actually "more positive than we would have imagined it to be," First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
There has been a 3 percent drop in the number of new cases each day during the last week, according to Ms Sturgeon.

Ministers had determined that expanding the programme would be out of proportion given the "inevitable impact vaccine certification has on the running of businesses," according to the minister.

There will be an exception to this rule, however, for venues that remain covered by the vaccine passport programme, which will be able to accept a negative lateral flow test instead of proof of immunisation starting on December 6.

This was originally left out of the scheme in order to increase vaccination rates, but Ms Sturgeon said that high vaccination rates meant testing could now be included as an option.
In addition, the first minister urged individuals to get immunised before going out with friends and family for the holidays, stating: "With every breath, you might be saving yourself and those you love.

"You are assisting the NHS, and you are increasing our chances of surviving this winter without extra limitations."

Hospitality executives had warned that a "avalanche of cancellations" might hit bars and restaurants if the certification programme was prolonged into the traditionally busy Christmas season.

With its director Tracy Black stating that the move "strikes the proper balance between managing the virus and preserving our economy recovery," business group CBI Scotland praised the decision.

"Many companies would have encountered practical difficulties and additional expenses to take controls at a time when robust trading is needed to claw back lost or lowered profits," she said.

Firms "will now have a weight off their shoulders," according to the Federation of Small Businesses, which called the ruling a "relief".

Finally, the Scottish Retail Consortium praised ministers for listening to sector views, saying firms would be "delighted" to see more limitations eased.
Nicola Sturgeon has a habit of announcing changes to Covid guidelines well in advance. They have made it apparent that expanding the use of vaccine certification to further venues is a real possibility in the previous two weeks.

According to a Scottish government evidence report, policymakers had to choose between expanding the use of certification and using lockdown-style procedures in order to further restrict Covid.

In light of business opposition and relatively consistent caseloads, the first minister's statement today has ruled out either alternative.

Their hope is that existing measures like vaccination and face masks will continue to be used while a call for more home testing is made to prevent the NHS from becoming swamped.

With the introduction of lateral flow testing, the Scottish plan more closely resembles those in Wales and Northern Ireland, which already require confirmation of vaccination.
A government u-turn, according to opposition parties that have questioned the efficacy of vaccine passports, has been seen as a government reversal.

Ministers appear to be "making it up as they go along," according to Sandesh Gulhane, the Scottish Conservatives' health spokesman.

"The uncertainty that this administration has left hanging over businesses for the last two weeks has been unwarranted and unacceptable," he said. "

There were accusations that the administration had been "keen to be perceived to be doing something, rather than doing the right thing," made by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

Then he said: "For months, we have been wasting our time pursuing the wrong priority. Transmission has not decreased despite the government's own data showing a lack of acceptance of the vaccination.

As a result, "we're in this position because the administration couldn't recognise that it was wrong and move in the right way," he says.

Mrs Sturgeon said Mr Sarwar was "fundamentally wrong," arguing that enabling tests to be used in the system prior to boosting vaccination rates would have "undermined" the "core primary goal" of the scheme.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, slammed the government's evidence paper as "mince" and claimed that ministers had produced "weeks of uncertainty and worry" for businesses.