Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine certification scheme - information for customers

How the vaccine certification (or COVID passport) scheme will work, who is exempt, and what you need to do if you are going to a venue or event.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine certification scheme - information for customers
Exclusions and exemptions

Premises and events with an exclusion

Events not included in the scheme include:

  • communal religious worship
  • a funeral, marriage ceremony, civil partnership registration, or a reception or gathering which relates to a funeral, marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration
  • a mass participation event such as a marathon, triathlon or charity walk
  • an event designated by the Scottish Ministers as a flagship event according to criteria, and in a list, published by the Scottish Ministers
  • showing in a cinema
  • a drive-in event
  • an organised picket
  • a public or street market
  • an illuminated trail
  • a work or business conference (not including any peripheral reception or function outside the core hours of the conference, whether or not alcohol is served)
  • a business or trade event which is not open to the public for leisure purposes
  • an unticketed event held at an outdoor public place with no fixed entry points
  • late night premises being used exclusively for receptions or gatherings related to a marriage ceremony, civil partnership registration or a funeral will also not be required to implement the scheme. This does not include other life events (for example, birthdays)

Certification will not be a requirement for public services or other settings that many people have no option but to attend such as retail, public transport, health services and education.

We recognise that some businesses, outside the regulated settings, are asking people for evidence they have been fully vaccinated as a condition of entry or as a condition of employment. Businesses which are not covered by the scheme require to meet their obligations under all relevant law including data protection, the Equality Act and Human rights. For more information see Guidance for employers on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

People who are exempt

The following people are exempt:

  • under 18s
  • participants in vaccine trials
  • people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons
  • the person responsible for the premises
  • people working or performing in the venues
  • emergency services responders and regulators carrying out their work

Under 18s

  • all under 18s are exempt from the need for certification
  • for most children and young people it will not be necessary to provide proof of age to enter the venue
  • for the small number of teenagers who appear to be over 18 venues may ask for evidence of age
  • all young people in Scotland over the age of 12 are able to access a Young Scot card

Participants in vaccine trials

  • people who are part of - or have participated in - a clinical trial of a vaccine against coronavirus are exempt from the need for certification
  • these people should have a letter from NHS Scotland that can be used to demonstrate they are exempt
  • where someone is unable to provide evidence that they are on a vaccine trial, they should not be regarded as exempt from certification

Medical exemptions

  • a very small number of people in Scotland cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons
  • reasons include those medical contraindications, including severe allergic reaction to the range of vaccines, and those receiving end of life care
  • arrangements are being put in place to provide these people with a letter to demonstrate they are medically exempt from the need to be vaccinated and therefore to certification
  • where someone is unable to provide evidence that they are medically exempt they should not be regarded as exempt from certification

People working or performing at venues

  • certification does not apply to people working, volunteering or performing in the setting as this would equate to mandatory vaccination for employment purposes
  • where an employee remains in the setting after their shift has finished, they would be required to demonstrate they have been fully vaccinated

First published: 30 Sep 2021 Last updated: 19 Oct 2021 -