Plans for a vaccine passport system will come to fruition from October 1st, as confirmed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in her speech to MSPs on Tuesday.
The scheme will affect people attending live indoor unseated events of more than 500 people, live outdoor unseated events of more than 4,000 people, and events of more than 10,000 people, including football matches.
This comes after England scrapped plans for a vaccine passport for similar events south of the border, as announced earlier this month by Health Secretary Sajid David.
Here;s how to get a vaccine passport in Scotland, as well as when and where you’ll need it.
How do I get a vaccine passport in Scotland?
Vaccine passports are official proof of immunisation and are meant to be a consistent, reliable and secure way to provide that proof.
You can request a vaccine passport if you’re aged 12 and over and have been vaccinated in Scotland, but it cannot show a record of vaccinations received outside of Scotland.
The vaccine passport will be made available through the NHS Covid Status App, providing digital proof of vaccination and a QR code for each vaccination received.
The app will go live on October 1st and you can also still request a secure paper record of vaccination from the NHS.
People who are exempt from getting vaccinated on medical grounds can also apply for a document explaining their exemption to venues.
It may become a criminal offence to attempt to enter an event covered by the scheme using a false vaccine passport.
Where will vaccine passports be needed in Scotland?
The government plans to only enforce vaccine passports for specific purposes, including entry to nightclubs, adult entertainment venues, unseated indoor live events of more than 500 people, unseated outdoor live events with more than 4,000 people, and any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance.
Football matches and other major sporting events will fall into the latter category and it also raises questions about the vaccination status of those attending the COP26 UN Summit in Glasgow later this year.
When will vaccine passports be compulsory?
The app will be available to download and use from 5am on Friday October 1st, but the First Minister also stated that there would be just over a two-week grace period for businesses that need to enforce them.
“I can therefore confirm that after the legal obligation comes into force at 5am on Friday, this week, we intend to allow a further period of slightly more than two weeks – until October 18 – before any business could face enforcement action for non-compliance,” said Mrs Sturgeon. “This period – effectively a grace period – will allow businesses to test, adapt and build confidence in the practical arrangements they will need to put in place to be compliant with the scheme.”
Businesses that do not “take all reasonable measures” to enforce the scheme after October 18th will face punishment from the Scottish government.
There has been some criticism from MSPs that this grace period is evidence that the vaccine passport scheme is still not ready.