NHS Covid passport Scotland: how to get the app and find your vaccine status - plus where you need to use it

Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out expanding the Covid vaccine passport scheme for now

In Scotland, the month of October ushered in the use of the Scotland Covid Status app, which allows users to show proof of their vaccination when entering into “high risk” venues such as night clubs.

There were considerations to expand the scheme given concerns of a new wave of Covid-19 over winter, however Nicola Sturgeon has ruled this option out.

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This is everything you need to know about how to use the app.

How do I get the app - and how does it work?

You can download the app for free on iOS or Android devices by visiting the NHS Inform Scot website. 

After you’ve downloaded it, you’ll be asked to register your details - you’ll need to provide certain information, like a passport or driving licence, in order to verify your identity.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll be able to use the app to access your Covid status, which states the details of your vaccination doses.

For those over 12-years-old, you can use the app when travelling abroad, although you should be aware that you may need to follow additional rules. You should continue to follow the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to.

For those aged 18 and over, you can use the app when visiting venues and events in Scotland.

What problems have there been?

The launch of the new app was unfortunately marred by technical issues, with many reporting that they were unable to register on it.

A common issue that had been reported was that users are being met with a “no match found” message after entering their details.

A Scottish government spokesperson said at the time that issues were likely caused by the large volume of people trying to access the app at the same time.

A number of schools in Central Beds have been sent hoax Covid vaccine consent letters to share with parents

They said: “Some people may be experiencing issues which are likely to be caused by extremely high initial traffic and a large number of users trying to access the app at once.

It now appears that the issues have been sorted out.

When did the Covid passport rules come into effect?

The scheme came into force from 5am on Friday 1 October, and therefore any events or settings that meet the criteria for certification needed to use the app from that point onwards until further notice.

Exemptions to the scheme include the under-18s, participants in vaccine trials, as well as people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and people working or performing in the venues.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends First Minster's Questions in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

Speaking about the app’s launch, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “We know from expert public health analysis that we must do all we can to stem the rise in cases and reduce the pressure on the NHS.

“Vaccine certificates have a role to play as part of a wider package of measures. They add a further layer of protection in certain higher risk settings.

“This is a very limited scheme and we hope this will allow businesses to remain open and prevent any further restrictions as we head into autumn and winter.

“I would encourage people to download the NHS Scotland Covid Status app and help our drive to keep the virus under control.

“Scotland is not unique in introducing such an approach. Certification schemes are in place across Europe, including Ireland and France, and the Welsh Government is also planning similar measures.

“I also want to ensure that as many people get vaccinated as possible and particularly to increase uptake in the younger age cohort, so anything that helps to incentivise that is helpful.”

Which venues have to use the scheme?

The Scottish government explains that the scheme applies in the following “higher risk” settings:

  • Late night venues with music, alcohol and dancing
  • Indoor live events with 500+ unseated in the audience 
  • Outdoor live events with 4,000+ unseated in the audience
  • All live events with 10,000+ in the audience 
Nicola Sturgeon has announced a delay to the full implementation to the vaccine passport scheme

By “late night venues with music and dancing”, the Scottish government states that this refers to any setting that meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is open at any time between midnight and 5am 
  • Serves alcohol after midnight
  • Has a dance floor or other designated space for dancing 
  • Provides live or recorded music, for dancing 

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