Covid: Sturgeon says sorry for 'deeply regrettable' app failure

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaking during an update to MSPs on changes to the Covid-19 restrictions, at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaking during an update to MSPs on changes to the Covid-19 restrictions, at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.

Sturgeon concedes 'the app didn’t work as we intended it to do last week. There is no point me trying to say anything different'

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Nicola Sturgeon has apologised for problems with Scotland’s Covid-19 vaccine passport app after thousands of Scots struggled with the system following its “shambolic” launch.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrive to give an update to MSPs on changes to the Covid-19 restrictions, at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrive to give an update to MSPs on changes to the Covid-19 restrictions, at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.

The First Minister made clear that she did “not consider the launch of the app last week to be remotely satisfactory” as opposition leaders insisted the “chaotic scenes” that had followed were a “predictable disaster” from the Scottish Government.

While Scotland now requires all those going to nightclubs, some football matches and other large events to prove they have had both doses of coronavirus vaccine, the app to go with the vaccine certification scheme was only launched some 12 hours or so before it came into force.

And many of those trying to get their details to show on it on Thursday and Friday were unable to do so.

In the wake of the “chaotic scenes”, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross repeated his calls for the vaccine certification scheme to be scrapped.

He said: “It seemed the Government didn’t foresee the high demand over an app which they wanted everyone who goes to gigs, everyone who goes to football, everyone who goes to nightclubs to download.

“Did they really not foresee the demand?”

Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross during an update to MSPs on changes to the Covid-19 restrictions, at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross during an update to MSPs on changes to the Covid-19 restrictions, at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.

He added: “People are messaging just now to say they are still putting in all of their details correctly and they cannot get the vaccine passport up on the app. So there continue to be issues days on.”

Ms Sturgeon conceded: “The app didn’t work as we intended it to do last week. There is no point me trying to say anything different.

“It is deeply regrettable but action was taken to resolve the issue, the issue in essence was the linkage between the app and the NHS systems. Action has been taken to address and resolve that.”

Giving a statement to MSPs in Holyrood, she said the problem many had experienced was that the app was “unable to locate their vaccination record from the information that they provided”.

This was “especially acute” just after it launched on Thursday evening and also Friday, the First Minister said.

She stated: “I know this caused extreme frustration for users who wanted to download the app as quickly as possible, and also for businesses and events organisers who were planning to test their certification arrangements over the weekend. I apologise for that.