A DOMESTIC vaccine passport scheme like the one being operated in Israel is “heading this way”, according to one of Scotland’s leading public health experts.

Professor Devi Sridhar, who advises the Scottish Government on its coronavirus response and is the chair of global public health at Edinburgh University, was speaking to the Health and Sport Committee at Holyrood this morning.

Sridhar called for the country to start preparing for the use of vaccine passports to allow people to travel overseas and even access busy places like concerts or bars.

In Israel, people must show a “green pass” – which they receive after vaccination or recovering from the virus – to access gyms and swimming pools.

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Over the coming weeks as cafes, bars and restaurants are opening, the system will be brought in for these kinds of venues.

Speaking to MSPs this morning, Professor Sridhar suggested once there is more clarity around the success of vaccines we will see Covid-19 passports issued around the world.

"I think if these vaccines stop transmission, which they look like they might, we will reach a stage of vaccine passports,” she explained.

"It's already being discussed in the EU.

"We already have countries like Israel have introduced green cards domestically if you actually have gotten vaccinated.

The National:

"And I think similar to yellow fever, where the WHO [World Health Organisation] has certification if you've been vaccinated, we'll reach a state where aviation will continue – and Spain and Greece are really keen on this for their tourism industries – where you will be allowed to fly and we can have international mobility, but only when people are vaccinated and we have that confirmation that you will not infect others when you travel."

The professor said she feels the WHO has not made any firm recommendations around vaccine certificates yet because the vaccine’s impact on transmission is not yet entirely clear.

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Once certification is established for international travel, she said, the “next stage” is to look at doing a scheme like Israel’s.

"Then you can really start creating an incentive to people, to say if you want to go to the concert, if you want to be able to be active in the places where spreading occurs, then you have to protect and make sure you're not infecting others," she said.

"So it's heading this way... Scotland needs to be ahead of this and preparing for it, and thinking actually if we're going to do it, how do we do it properly."

National clinical director Jason Leitch has previously said that a Covid vaccine passport is likely in Scotland.