HUMZA Yousaf has admitted it could be a “matter of days” before issues around Scotland’s new vaccine passport app could be fixed.
The NHS Scotland Covid Status app was made available to download on Apple and Android devices just 12 hours before the scheme launched at 5am yesterday.
But within hours, frustrated users were told “something went wrong” or “no match found”.
The Health Secretary has since accepted that the issues are “frustrating” but said the “grace period” means no-one should be turned away from places nightclubs or football stadiums as a result.
Not a great start to Scotland’s new covid vaccine passport app. pic.twitter.com/6AiSi0Yqi7
— Rebecca Cook (@itsrebeccacook) September 30, 2021
Scots will be asked for proof they have had two doses of the Covid vaccine to enter nightclubs and many other large events.
The grace period, after consultation with businesses, means the scheme will not be legally enforced until October 18.
Mr Yousaf told BBC Scotland yesterday: “I know it is frustrating because a lot of people have downloaded the app.
“I regret any inconvenience caused to anybody, be it an individual or business, but that shouldn’t stop you from going about your activities over the course of the next few days.
“Largely, the issues are down to volume of traffic but what I would say if you’re having persistent problems do feel free to call the Covid helpline.
“We always stress test these things before they go live and we have done so but actually, once it goes live, in the real world there can be these glitches and my hope is those glitches should be resolved – we hope in a matter of hours, but it may be a matter of days.”
The Scottish Tories insisted the scheme should be delayed indefinitely to prevent a “weekend of chaos” as a result of problems with the app, which helps individuals prove their double-jabbed status.
Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said the app’s launch had been a “complete shambles”.
She said: “I have already been contacted by several constituents complaining that the app crashed on them.
“It is typical of the SNP to rush this out when it clearly doesn’t work.
“This is embarrassing for the Scottish Government, they need to get a grip and fix the app urgently.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The launch was shambolic. Thousands of attempts to access Covid ID cards hit the buffers.”
He said the Information Commissioner should intervene “to stop this scheme now”.
Speaking to Bauer Radio, Mr Yousaf added: “If you’re planning to go out to a nightclub tonight or go to the football at the weekend, still go, because of course we delayed enforcement of the certification scheme because we wanted to make sure that the system had time to bed in, to set in, to test in.
“Therefore there’s nothing within the regulations that means you should be turned away from the nightclub door or turned away from the turnstiles this weekend.”
For those who continue to experience problems, the Scottish Government said an online portal which provides individuals with a PDF version of their certificate is still accessible via NHS Inform.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “More than 70,000 downloaded the app yesterday.
“This huge demand did mean that some people experienced delays and we are sorry that happened.
“We have now increased the capacity of the NHS systems that sit behind the app – where most of the issues causing delays have occurred – in order to deal with demand and, as a result, we are seeing increasing numbers of people now able to access their records.”