Scottish government considers digital vaccine passports as Boris Johnson insists they won’t be needed for ads

Jean Freeman has confirmed that the Scottish government is considering digital ‘vaccine passports’.

Digital vaccine passports are under consideration
Digital vaccine passports are under consideration

The Scottish Health Secretary explained yesterday that work is underway to develop the tools needed for digital vaccine certificates while keeping ethical and equality issues under review.

His comments preceded a press conference in Downing Street last night where Boris Johnson said any policy in England would first be voted on by MPs.

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Proposals were announced over the weekend for a “Covid Status Certification” program for mass gatherings south of the border, from sporting events to nightclubs. The UK government said the certificates could be a mobile phone app or a paper document and they should. show whether an individual has received the vaccine, recently tested negative for the virus, or has “natural immunity” after testing positive within the previous six months.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed yesterday that vaccine passports are being reviewed by the Scottish government

Ms Freeman said there were questions about how such a system would work, but said she was in favor of a digital approach.

She said: “We are currently examining what would be the digital infrastructure that you would need for any form of certification, as we work through these ethical, equality and practical issues of how it could be used and under what circumstances. .

“I don’t want it to be on paper – where possible, I would like it to be done digitally.

“I don’t want to place an unnecessary burden on our health service – on our GP practices, for example – with everyone going to their house to get the piece of paper that says ‘Yes, I have been vaccinated’.”

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Coronavirus: How Could Digital Vaccine Passports Work?

Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar welcomed the idea of ​​vaccine passports, but warned that the international aspect must be prioritized.

He said: “We need to separate the two sides around the vaccine passport discussion, one is what’s happening nationally and I think it would be good to have some sort of certification or card. who recognizes that someone has had their first dose, recognizes that someone has had their second dose.

“It could also be used to promote it on social media to encourage uptake of the vaccine, but I think there’s a much bigger conversation to be had about international travel.

“As people start to come to Scotland to sightsee, to trade, to visit family, we may wish they had a certification proving that they received their vaccine, in exactly the same way when Scots go on vacation or to work. or to establish trade relations, other countries might ask them to provide certification and proof that they have had a vaccine, so I think the international aspect needs to be really prioritized.

The policy has been fiercely opposed by the Liberal Democrats, with Scottish leader Willie Rennie saying they will create a ‘two-track society’.

He explained: “It is extremely unfair to the millions of people who have not yet been vaccinated and to those who have been advised not to be vaccinated.

“Just following Boris Johnson’s lead is not a sufficient excuse. This should not continue until the public has had their say.

The Prime Minister insisted yesterday that there was “absolutely no question” that people have to show a vaccination passport to go to the pub or the barber when the lockdown is further lifted in England next Monday.

He said at a Downing Street briefing: “Regarding the certification of Covid status, as we prefer to call it, the most important thing to tell everyone who is listening and watching is that it is absolutely not question of asking people to produce a certification or a report on the Covid status when they go to the stores or to the pub garden or to their hairdresser or the like on Monday.

“And indeed, we are not planning this for the third stage either, on May 17th, as you know, we hope to go for the opening of inner hospitality and so on.

“We’re not planning anything like that at this point.”

The PM also rejected children who had to have a vaccination passport if they were implemented.

He explained, “We are a long way from implementing or enacting anything like this for anyone, let alone children.

“I explained how we might consider doing this, but it’s not for steps two or three anyway.”

It came at a press conference which saw the prime minister insist there would be no deviation from his track record outside of the lockdown.

The UK government yesterday presented provisional findings from its review of the domestic use of Covid Status Certificates, saying ministers believe such a system could have “an important role to play both nationally and internationally, in as a temporary measure ”.

Led by Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, the review task force is examining “what standards” should be required for so-called vaccine passports if they are used domestically.

Due to be finalized this summer, the review initially found that vaccine passports could “potentially play a role in environments such as theaters, nightclubs and mass events such as festivals or sporting events to help manage the risks to which a large number of people are brought. together nearby ”.

According to an article published by Downing Street, those who tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 180 days would also be eligible for access to sites requiring a Covid certificate.

He said: “The government expects that certification of Covid status can be demonstrated by: an up-to-date vaccination status, negative lateral flow or PCR test performed at a test site on the same day or the day before of their admission to a place, or by proof of natural immunity, such as through a previous positive PCR for a period of 180 days from the date of the positive test and after the end of the period of self-isolation. “

This will now be piloted at a series of mass events including the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield and the FA Cup Final at Wembley on May 15.

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