FM apologises for frustration caused by vaccine passport app problems

The scheme was hit by technical problems following its launch.

FM apologises for frustration caused by vaccine passport app problems Apple Store via Apple Store / Pool via Getty Images
The app was made available for download last week.

Nicola Sturgeon has apologised for the “extreme frustration” caused by technical problems in the wake of the launch of the Scottish Government’s Covid passport scheme app.

The app was made available for download on Thursday last week, but a surge in users seeking to input their details, combined with an error in an NHS system, meant many people were unable to use it.

At the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, the First Minister said the problem was “especially acute” on Thursday evening and into Friday.

“The app which we can opt to use to show evidence of our vaccination status became available for download last Thursday afternoon,” she said.

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“I am of course well aware that many people found it extremely difficult to use the app initially.

“In particular, many found that the app was unable to locate their vaccination record from the information that they had provided.

“This problem was especially acute over Thursday evening and Friday. I know this caused extreme frustration for users who wanted to download the app as quickly as possible.

“And and also for businesses and events organisers who were planning to test their certification arrangements over the weekend and I apologise for that.”

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The First Minister said that improvements to remedy the problem were made on Friday.

She continued: “The problem was not with the app itself, but with the NHS systems that it links to.

“Essentially the high level of demand after the launch of the app, combined with an error in one part of the NHS system, meant that information wasn’t being sent quickly enough from the NHS system to the app.

“This also, for a period, caused problems for those requesting paper copies of vaccine certificates or seeking to download a PDF.

“However, improvements to remedy the problem were made to the NHS system were made on Friday evening, indeed I can report that the initial backlog of people waiting for their information to be matched had been cleared by Saturday lunchtime.”

She added: “We will of course continue to monitor the performance of the app and we will continue to engage with businesses and sectors subject to the requirement for Covid certification.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the passport scheme had been an “utter shambles from day one”.

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He said: “The app was delayed and only came into force less than 12 hours before the scheme began, it was instantly a disaster, people couldn’t find the app, they couldn’t get the app to open, there were issues with facial recognition.”

Ross added: “People are messaging just now to say they are still putting in all their details correctly and they cannot get their vaccine passport up on the app.

“So, there continues to be issues days on.”