Swinney: Some people will never get vaccine passport app to work

The deputy first minister said paper vaccine passports will be valid indefinitely because of issues with the app.

Swinney: Some people will never get  vaccine passport app to work PA Media
Swinney: Acknowledged 'significant problem' with app.

Paper vaccine passports will always be valid, John Swinney has said after admitting some people will probably never get the troubled app to work.

The new vaccine passport app, aimed at allowing people to prove their vaccination status, was launched on Thursday but users encountered problems that left thousands unable to make it work.

Proof of being double vaccinated or an exemption is now required to gain entry to nightclubs and large events, although there is a “grace period” on enforcement for another two weeks after industry backlash to the plans.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister suggested the app is now working as intended despite the problems people faced during the first few days.

Swinney stressed that 280,000 people had managed to get it to work by Sunday afternoon, but acknowledged there were still a “very small number of cases” where people were unable to download a QR code as proof of vaccination.

He also revealed there is a “very significant problem” for the system if people have different names registered with the NHS to their passport or driving licence.

Swinney told the BBC Good Morning Scotland programme those people would probably have to rely on paper vaccine passports, so they would be valid “on a continuous basis”.

He said: “One of the most important foundations of this system must be data security.

“We don’t want to see a situation where people are getting access to the wrong information about individuals so we have to be absolutely certain about the identity of individuals if they are using a different name with a GP registration to the one that’s on their passport.

“That’s inevitably going to throw up a very significant problem for any system.

“We’ll try to resolve those issues with individuals, but ultimately the fallback may well be that individuals have to use the paper copy.”

Mike Grieve, chairman of the the Night Time Industries Association, told the programme the vaccine passport scheme was “discriminatory” because people without a passport or driving licence were unable to use the app and described it as a “fundamentally flawed policy”.

“We’ve said repeatedly that the policy was going to meet with real difficulty for operators and that uptake amongst the cohort that the government seeks to coerce into uptaking the vaccine is not going to be affected by this,” Mr Grieve said.

“We don’t agree with the imposition of a vaccine passport in the first place, but if there is to be a vaccine passport then it shouldn’t be applied to one small sector of the economy, it should not be simply applied to late-night hospitality and it should not be focused purely on double vaccination.”

Responding to comments about people without valid identification being unable to use the app, Swinney said: “What you do then is you get a paper copy, so it’s not discriminatory in any way, shape or form.”