Vaccine certification scheme introduced

Published: 01 Oct 2021 00:01

Proof of status now needed at higher risk venues.

The Coronavirus vaccine certification scheme comes into effect today in Scotland meaning people will have to show proof  of their vaccination status to  enter some events and higher risk venues.

People attending a range of  late night venues and larger  indoor and outdoor live events, such as music festivals or large sporting events, will be required to show staff their Covid status. This can be done via the NHS Scotland Covid Status App released yesterday on their mobile device or using the paper certificate.

Following consultation with businesses affected a grace period has been agreed until Monday October 18th before the scheme is legally enforced. The legal requirement for businesses to keep information about certification status confidential and not use it for other purposes comes into effect today.

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 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."

The Scottish Government will continue to work with the sectors affected and updated guidance has been published to help ensure the smooth introduction of the scheme.

People in Scotland can download the NHS Scotland Covid Status App via their mobile device. A  paper certificate or the downloadable PDF is also available from NHS Inform. 

The Regulations which came into force at 5am today and must be reviewed every three weeks as part of the wider review of Coronavirus Regulations.

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 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.

Officials are currently working with other UK jurisdictions to help ensure people vaccinated outside Scotland can still enter the venues affected with proof of their vaccine status.


The NHS Scotland Covid Status App is available for download from NHS Inform: NHS Scotland COVID Status | NHS inform

Businesses can use the free NHS Scotland Covid Check App to verify the QR codes on official Covid Certificates:

Proof of vaccination will be required to enter:

  • late night venues open after midnight with alcohol and music and dancing
  • unseated indoor live events, with more than 500 people in the audience
  • unseated outdoor live events, with more than 4,000 people in the audience
  • any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance
  • no personal data is stored on the NHS Scotland Covid Check app

The legal requirement on businesses to keep information about certification status confidential and not use it for other purposes comes into effect  today.