THE SCOTTISH Government is “not opposed” to vaccine passports being used to allow people to restart overseas travel – amid a warning more needs to be known about whether those who have received their jag can still pass on the virus.

The assurance from Health Secretary Jeane Freeman came after the chair of the BMA's Scottish GPs committee, Dr Andrew Buist, told MSPs that the idea should be given “serious consideration”.

Vaccine passports would document whether someone has received the Covid-19 inoculation and supporters believe it would allow international and domestic travel to restart. But concerns have been raised about the policy’s suitability, given it is not yet known whether those who have ben vaccinated can still pass the virus onto others.

The discussion comes after the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said it is in talks with the UK Government about a coronavirus vaccination app for travellers.

The trade body is working with carriers on the TravelPass app, which will give people flying abroad the ability to share their coronavirus test and vaccination results.

Labour MSP David Stewart raised the idea at Holyrood’s Covid-19 Committee, claiming that “the EU are well ahead on this issue”.

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Mr Stewart quizzed the SNP’s Health Secretary over the idea, stating it should be digitally available instead of a “non-digital system where we are plaguing our GPs to have vaccination certificates” and be internationally recognised.

He added: “I cannot see how we can rebuild our economy and our international tourism, including our domestic tourism without an internationally-recognised form of vaccine passport.”

Mr Stewart said the World Health Organization should oversee any vaccine passport, warning that “otherwise frankly countries will not accept tourists unless there’s been some form of passport”.

Ms Freeman stressed it cannot realistically be rolled out “until some of those unknowns are clarified” about transmission from people who have had the vaccine.

She said: “We have had some discussions on this. We’re not opposed to vaccine passports or the interoperability of such kinds of certificates.

“Our position, certainly my position, is we need to be clear on the purpose. Part on the clarity on the purpose will be informed by our growing understanding of the impact of the vaccine itself.

“We know from the clinical trials that the two vaccines we’re currently using are very effective in preventing those at greatest risk of serious illness and death. What we don’t know is if the vaccines have any impact on transmissibility – which is key in controlling the virus.”

The Health Secretary admitted “there will come a point” when the use of vaccine passports could have “real value for individuals”, but warned she is keen to “make sure the wider public understands the limitations of vaccination right now, based on what we know”.

She added: “I’ve heard people say ‘now that my granny’s been vaccinated, I can go and hug her’. I’d really rather you didn’t.

“Even when you’re vaccinated, I’d really rather you didn’t until we are sure about what is happening with transmissibility and case levels.”

Mr Stewart had earlier put the same proposition to Dr Buist, who pointed to a motion agreed at the BMA GP conference, backing the idea.

Dr Buist said: “GPs are very much in favour of this.

“We want this to be done as seamlessly as possible. The last thing we want is patients coming to their GP looking for a piece of paper, some sort of certificate that says that they have been vaccinated.

“For some months now, I’ve been asking the Covid vaccination programme board to try and ensure that the system that records people who have bene given a vaccine has the capability in order to produce some sort of IT proof.

“I’m in favour of it being done as seamlessly as possible. It sounds like something that should be given serious consideration.”