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Vaccine passports: Student says app excludes foreign ID holders

Jordan Brown believes Scotland's Covid passport app is excluding those who don't have a British ID

An American student has claimed those without British passports are being locked out of the new vaccine app.

Jordan Brown, from California, has been left frustrated after Scotland’s flagship Covid vaccine app failed to recognise his foreign passport.

Mr Brown and fiancee Samantha Angulo claim they have tried to scan their American IDs at least 30 times to no avail.

They are among thousands of people hit by the app’s glitches over the weekend – which included being unable to sign in, and struggling to find it on app stores – though some are now having success.

The digital tool is now needed to enter stadiums, attend large events, and visit nightclubs in Scotland.

Scheme only open to people vaccinated in Scotland

Mr Brown is studying for a history PhD at St Andrews University, but lives in Aberdeen.

He had hoped to register and then add proof of the two doses of the vaccine he received in his home country over the summer.

But the Scottish Government has said only those fully vaccinated here can join the digital system for the time being.

However, officials say foreign passports should be accepted and they are working to ensure people vaccinated in the rest of the UK or abroad can also use the app.

Mr Brown, 32, said: “It definitely feels like this wasn’t put through its paces.

Person using a smartphone searching for the Covid vaccine passport app on Google Store
Some mobile users have struggled to find the new app. Image: Shutterstock/DCT Media.

“I don’t know if the developers considered passports from different areas will have different security features over the photograph.

“People using a British passport have had difficulties too but it seems they eventually get there.

“But we don’t want to keep wasting hours if it’s never going to work.”

Fears officials won’t recognise US documents

Mr Brown and Ms Angulo are getting married next month and hope to take US-based family to sporting events when they fly to Scotland.

Mr Brown has so far used his physical vaccine card issued in the USA.

However, he says he doubts whether staff at stadiums or elsewhere would be fully briefed on what foreign vaccine documents look like.

Student Jordan Brown with his fiancée Samantha Angulo and their dog Jimbo, sitting at a table showing their passports.
Mr Brown with his fiancée Samantha Angulo and their dog Jimbo.

The keen rugby fan has lived in Scotland for six years but says the experience has left him feeling locked out of the government’s new scheme.

He said: “I think staff will be expecting a QR code and we’re worried about trying to use a piece of paper.

“We’ve lived here for quite a long time now and I feel we should be able to access the app like other people in Scotland.”

Error message on the new NHS Scotland Covid status vaccine passport app.
Many users have been hit with an error message since the app was rolled out

Lib Dem Willie Rennie, MSP for North East Fife, believes the new system has failed.

He said: “It is humiliating for the SNP government to have introduced such an error-ridden system.

“But what is more important is that it could have a real impact on the lives of people who have chosen this country as their home.

“The SNP need to recognise they have got this wrong and scrap the system.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said international passports should be recognised, and advised anyone having issues to adjust lighting and ensure the image is as clear as possible.

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