NICOLA Sturgeon said she could not rule out introducing vaccine passports in Scotland as she appealed to younger people to get vaccinated.

The First Minister said the Scottish Government have not yet reached a decision on proof of entry schemes for venues such as nightclubs, but said it was "something we'll be considering" over the coming weeks, but stressed that the policy raised difficult ethical issues.

She said "The arguments for it raise sensitive ethical and equality issues, not least because some people cannot get vaccinated for health reasons."

Speaking during today's Covid briefing, the First Minister added that nightclubs were not open in Scotland at the moment "because we do think they pose a transmission risk".

Boris Johnson has indicated that proof of vaccination will be required for entry into nightclubs by the end of September in England, by which time over 18s will have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated.

He said simply having a negative test would not be enough. 

It comes amid concerns about lower uptake of jags in young people and a decision by the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination (JCVI) to limit Covid vaccinations only to 12 to 17-year-olds with serious health issues.

Ms Sturgeon declined to expand on what types of settings could be considered but pressed on the timing for a decision on domestic vaccine passports, Ms Sturgeon said it was a "reasonable assumption" that more detail would be set out on the Government's position before venues such as nightclubs reopen. 

"These issues need to be very carefully considered," she said. 

"There are people who think we should be introducing vaccine passports to get as many people vaccinated as possible, and there are those who think there are serious equity and liberty and ethical issues associated with these. 

"I understand the desire for speed on these things, but we've got to make sure we get this right."

France is introducing a health pass required for entry into bars, restaurants, theatres, trains and other crowded public spaces which will require customers to present proof of vaccination, prior infection or a negative test. The move is designed to boost the country's vaccination uptake. 

In parts of Scotland nearly 50% of men under 30 are yet to be vaccinated despite all over-18s now having been offered a first dose. 

Ms Sturgeon stressed that overall uptake, which has seen nearly 90% of all adults get a first dose and two thirds a second, had been "remarkable" and "exceeds what we dared hope for" when the rollout began. 

However, she conceded that as long as there remains a proportion of the population unvaccinated it "leaves a vulnerability" which makes the return to normality more difficult. 

The high transmissibility of the Delta variant has made the threshold for herd immunity much higher, and potentially impossible, without at least 85% of the population being fully vaccinated. 

The decision not to routinely vaccinate under-18s - who account for around 17% of the population in Scotland - means that this goal will now be even harder to reach unless uptake increases substantially in the younger population. 

Ms Sturgeon said she believed lower uptake among 18 to 29 year olds was down to a mixture of accessibility, vaccine hesitancy, and a lack of motivation due to a sense that their low personal risk from Covid did not "justify" getting vaccinated. 

She added that she did not believe the JCVI should rule out vaccinating healthy 12-17-year-olds, something already happening in countries including the United States. 

The First Minister said the chief medical officer, Dr Gregor Smith, is writing to the JCVI urging them that the risks and benefits to this age group "is kept under review".