Sturgeon: Vaccine passports are not a magic wand but can get us through winter

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said vaccine passports are “not a magic wand” but added that it may help to get Scotland through the winter without the need for more Covid-19 restrictions.

A motion before Holyrood on Thursday passed in the first major vote since the SNP and Greens entered a co-operation agreement.

Opposition parties railed against the plans, with a paper being published just hours before the debate was due to take place, and a number of issues yet to be finalised.

Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood
Nicola Sturgeon said she hopes the scheme will help to get Scotland through the winter without the need for more restrictions (Russell Cheyne/PA)

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, the First Minister said: “Vaccine certification is not a magic wand, more than any other restriction is a magic wand, but it may provide us with the ability to get through the winter, keep venues like nightclubs and big events operational rather than having to close them for periods again, while helping to keep people safer.

“We know that while vaccines don’t eradicate the risk of transmission, they do significantly reduce the chance of transmission.”

The First Minister went on to say Labour and the Tories were showing “opposition for opposition’s sake” to the proposals.

“(Scottish Labour leader) Anas Sarwar announced on Sunday before anything really had gone through the parliamentary debate process that he was going to vote against it,” she said.

“(Scottish Tory leader) Douglas Ross is in the bizarre, and it’s for him to explain this, position where had he been voting at Westminster yesterday – because remember the UK Government have got plans to implement an almost identical scheme – he would have voted for it but because it’s an SNP Government in Scotland, he’s voting against it.

“Let’s just accept that the opposition are very much in an opposition for opposition’s sake mode.”

The First Minister went on to say that, while she did not agree with the Lib Dem position – which claims the Scottish Government is overreaching and bringing in “Covid ID cards” – she believes it to be an “in principle opposition”.

Addressing issue with the lack of detail in the proposals, which included the definition of what constitutes a night club not yet being finalised, the First Minister said: “We have set out the broad outlines of this scheme.

“People can see how schemes like this operate, because they are already operational in many countries across Europe.

“We are considering and engaging with the affected business sector on the fine detail of the scheme, so that’s actually the right and proper way to do government.

“We’ve also built in time so this scheme will not come into force until October 1, to make sure that businesses have the detail and that there is not just overarching guidance in place, but there is a sector-specific guidance.”