A vaccine passport or vaccine certification is proof that an individual has received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
From 1 October, a vaccine passport will be required to access certain events and venues. These include, nightclubs and adult entertainment premises, indoor standing live events with more than 500 people, outdoor standing live events with more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000 people, such as football games.
Following a full debate on this issue in the Scottish Parliament the Scottish Conservatives voted against these proposals.
We have always said that we would support any measures that prevent restrictions having to be re-imposed on Scottish businesses or communities being forced into another lockdown.
However, the flaws in the plans that the SNP Government brought forward were considerable. No specific detail on how the scheme would be operated was provided, the SNP Government wanted us to vote for the measures without giving us that vital information.
The SNP Government repeatedly stated that further information on the system would be published, however all that was provided was a thin document which did not answer vital questions for affected businesses. For example, it did not define a nightclub, but did add that there will be costs to businesses for additional staffing and infrastructure, with no financial support being given. Many businesses have raised concerns about these proposals and have still received no answers.
In addition, I am deeply concerned at the impact that mandatory vaccine passports could have on individual rights and freedoms. While I would urge everyone who has been offered a dose of the vaccine to take up that offer, I respect the decision of those people who have chosen not to get vaccinated. The vaccination programme is and should remain voluntary. I also recognise that there are a number of people who for a variety of reasons cannot get vaccinated.
I am also concerned that the introduction of vaccination certification could be a precursor for the reimposition of coronavirus restrictions across Scotland. Given the high level of vaccination across the population and the impact of restrictions on people’s mental health, finances and our economy, my view is that the Scottish people would not support a return to restrictions unless there was a significant change in circumstances.
It is clear that these proposals have not been thought through. The SNP Government have failed to prepare the Scottish public or the affected businesses for the introduction of this system, it is for those reasons that we have voted against the proposals.