FM and Clinical Director pulling in different directions over immunity passports

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today called for clarification from the Scottish Government over whether it is exploring the prospect of immunity passports, after National Clinical Director Jason Leitch contradicted previous comments from the First Minister. 

At First Minister’s Questions on 3rd December, Nicola Sturgeon told Willie Rennie:  

“It’s not something we plan to do, it’s not something we favour. I would share some of the philosophical and ethical objections to it, but there are also practical issues…  

“We have no plans to introduce immunity passports, just as we have no plans to make vaccination compulsory – although we will strongly encourage maximum take-up of the vaccine…  

“I think perhaps, the starting point is for all of us across the chamber… to make clear it is not something this Parliament is contemplating at all.”  

However, at this morning’s covid committee Jason Leitch said: “I agree it [immunity passports] is an interesting concept, the WHO (World Health Organisation) have begun to look at it… I think we will probably move towards that.” 

Willie Rennie said:  

“As a liberal I am nervous about talk of immunity passports. There are serious privacy concerns as well as ethical dilemmas around excluding entire categories of people from public spaces.  

“When I asked the First Minister about this she told me that this was not something that was being contemplated. But now her National Clinical Director says that he thinks this is on the cards.  

“The public deserve to know whether the government is looking at these measures or not. If their position has changed from December, there needs to be a national public debate about this issue and its profound and widespread implications.” 

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