HEALTH Secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed the Scottish Government is considering digital vaccine records for coronavirus as Boris Johnson announces passport trials to unlock the economy.

Ms Freeman told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland that a digital certificate was being considered, and that she favoured this option over a paper one which could increase the burden of work on the NHS.

Ms Freeman spoke about the measures ahead of Boris Johnson’s expected announcement this afternoon that trials of vaccine passports will go ahead in England to allow large venues to reopen.

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All residents in England are also to be offered two lateral flow coronavirus tests per week, beginning on Friday.

Ms Freeman was asked what the Scottish Government’s thinking was around Covid passports, to which she said: “We will keep a watching brief on that.

“Every week, I have a meeting with the four health ministers of the governments across the UK. So we keep each other up to date and we will look where we can, where we have it, at the data of what each other is doing and where it is possible, and where we think it is clinically advised and makes sense, then we take the necessary steps so we'll keep a watching brief on that.”

The Health Secretary said that clinicians wanted to see how such a scheme would work in practice, adding that there were also “ethical and equality questions that you’ve got to work through because not everyone can get the vaccine.”

The Scottish Government, she said, is “currently looking at” a digital certificate to show if someone has been vaccinated, and explained: “We're currently looking at what would be the digital infrastructure you need for any form of certification, as we worked through those ethical and equality and practical questions about how it might be used, and in what circumstances.”

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On foreign travel, Ms Freeman said the biggest concern as around importing new variants of covid, adding: “I don't know the answer to that yet.

“We only need to look at the situation in France to see what can happen if you move too fast, and you have, as France does, more than one variant to contend with.

“What I know for sure is that I don't want us to move back into third lockdown. If that means that we can ease domestically whilst restricting ourselves in terms of international travel, then that may be the right choice to make, but at this point, it's too early to have a definitive view.”

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie has criticised any suggestion of bringing in a vaccine passport scheme, and said the public should “have the chance to have their say”.

He also warned their introduction was “a slippery slope” and could have implications for people’s privacy.

His Westminster colleagues were among more than 70 MPs and peers to sign a letter last week, opposing any form of vaccination passport.  

READ MORE: More than 70 MPs and peers sign pledge against Covid vaccine passports

Mr Rennie said: “This is grossly unfair to the millions who have not been vaccinated yet and to those who have been advised not to take the vaccine.

“It is a massive step for the state to insist that people be vaccinated before accessing everyday services. 

“People should have a chance to have a say on this major development and on my call for caution. The impact on young people and the risk of abuse are serious.

“It’s no surprise that the SNP are desperate to get their hands on a whole host more of our personal information.

“This is a very slippery slope and one the First Minister denied she was contemplating just weeks ago.

“This will set up a twin track society with one set of haves and one set of have-nots.

“Just following Boris Johnson’s lead is not a good enough excuse."

“This must not go ahead until the public has had a say.”