Covid vaccine passport Scotland: how to download NHS app, is it still crashing - and where you need to use it

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The Covid vaccine passport scheme is now live in Scotland - but there are ongoing problems with the NHS app.

In Scotland, the month of October ushers 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.

Here’s everything you need to know.

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.

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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.

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What problems have there been?

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

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

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

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.

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“We advise people whose data is not found to try again a couple of hours later.”

Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Roddy Dunlop QC, described the app as the “worst [he has] ever tried to use”.

He wrote on Twitter: “I am not prone to hyperbole. I promise.

“And I instantly recognise that I was originally instructed to challenge the introduction of covid passports and so am not neutral.

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“But try the app; look at the comments below. This is, literally, the worst app I have ever tried to use.”

It’s unclear when the issues regarding the app will be resolved.

When will 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 will need to use the app from this point onwards until further notice.

However, following a consultation with businesses affected by the introduction of the vaccine passport, the Scottish government confirmed that a grace period had been agreed upon, meaning that the scheme will not be legally enforced until 18 October.

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According to the Scottish government, there are currently no plans to introduce certification for the wider hospitality industry but this will be kept under review over the autumn and winter months.

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.

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.

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“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.”

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Which venues will have to use the scheme?

The Scottish government explains that the scheme will apply 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

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

What events in Glasgow will require vaccine passports?

There are a number of big events that will require vaccine passports in the coming weeks, we’ve detailed them here.

Who in Glasgow will be affected by the vaccine passport introduction?

Young people in Glasgow are set to be the most affected in the country. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of Glasgow City council area’s over 18 population (119,000 people) look set to be affected by the impending law changes.

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