THE introduction of vaccine passports in Scotland aims to "reduce the danger" of fresh coronavirus restrictions, John Swinney has said.

The Deputy First Minister, who is also Covid Recovery Secretary, said strict rules may have to be reintroduced if the take up of vaccines is not increased. 

It comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and large events later this month.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser asked about the reasons behind the move during a meeting of Holyrood's Covid-19 Recovery Committee.

Mr Swinney said: “The primary purpose of the policy proposal that was set out by the First Minister is to try to strengthen the resistance to the virus by maximising compliance with the measures that we know will have the greatest impact in trying to stem the prevalence of serious illness as a consequence of people contracting the virus."

He added: "The purpose of the move is to maximise resistance within the population and to reduce the danger that we have to impose any further restrictions in the future, which government is clearly very keen to make sure is not the case”

Mr Swinney said the approach "has the potential" to boost uptake as well as incentivising individuals to get vaccinated, particularly among younger age groups.

He said: "What we have to balance that against is the likelihood that unless we take action to further improve vaccination levels, we may find ourselves having to take action at a later stage, which could potentially lead to the application of further restrictions, and the government is keen to enlist the support and participation of members of the public in helping us to avoid it getting to that position. 

"We've looked at the balance of evidence on this question, and come to the conclusion that this would be an effective way of trying to essentially strengthen that population-wide resistance to the virus by maximising the uptake of vaccination."

Under the Scottish Government's plans, certificates would be introduced later this month for nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, unseated indoor live events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor live events for more than 4,000 people and any events with more than 10,000 people.

The wider hospitality sector, such as pubs and bars, would not be affected. However, this will be kept under review.

Children and people with particular medical conditions would also be exempt.

MSPs will vote on the move next week.

From tomorrow, Scots will be able to download a PDF copy of their vaccine certificate, with a personalised QR code, to print off instantly or store on their mobile phone for use domestically or internationally.