ISSUES with a new app allowing people to obtain vaccine passports were caused by a high volume of users trying to access the app at the same time, the Scottish Government said.

More than 70,000 people downloaded the app on Thursday, the Government said, and capacity in the system has now been increased.

The Scottish Tories repeated calls for the vaccine passport scheme to be delayed after users were hit with technical issues.

The NHS Scotland Covid Status app was released on Apple and Android shortly after 5pm on Thursday, around 12 hours before the scheme was set to begin. But users reported on social media a number of issues with verifying their identity, meaning they could not display their status.

From 5am yesterday, people attending large events and nightclubs need to show proof they have had two doses of vaccine using the app before they are allowed in.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon on her way to the Holyrood chamber on Tuesday, where she announced that enforcement of the vaccine passport scheme was to be delayed

However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said earlier in the week a grace period would be in effect from the start of the scheme, meaning venues will not be liable for enforcement action before October 18, to allow the systems to be properly implemented.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said yesterday: “More than 70,000 people downloaded the app on Thursday. This huge demand did mean that some people experienced delays and we are sorry that happened.

“We have now increased the capacity of the NHS systems that sit behind the app – where most of the issues causing delays have occurred – in order to deal with demand and, as a result, we are seeing increasing numbers of people now able to access their records.”

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross repeated calls for a postponement to avoid what he said could be a “weekend of chaos” as the certification is set to be used for access to large events and nightclubs.

Ross said: “The SNP Government has just a few hours to act quickly and prevent a weekend of chaos at venues across Scotland. Thousands of people will be at the football and going out to hospitality premises this weekend. At an incredibly challenging time, businesses will lose out if this app is still not working.

The National: Opposition for opposition's sake has led Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross into the absurd position of being against a proposal in Scotland, but for it in England

“This plan should really be scrapped altogether but if the SNP insist on charging ahead, they must indefinitely delay the vaccine passport scheme until the most basic issues are ironed out.”

Dr Christine Tait-Burkard, an infection expert at Edinburgh University, told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme yesterday that the vaccine passport plan “may persuade some of the hesitant people” to get jabbed, although she also revealed she had been unable to get the new app to work.

Tait-Burkard said: “Larger studies on international travel showed that [proof of vaccination] is increasing the vaccine uptake between 5% and 10% in the younger generation, which is exactly what we need.

“And in France, we see that the more day-to-day life gets curtailed by the need of having a vaccine passport, that has again driven uptake very clearly.”

But the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Roddy Dunlop QC, described the app as the “worst I have ever tried to use”.

He wrote on Twitter: “I am not prone to hyperbole. I promise. And I instantly recognise that I was originally instructed to challenge the introduction of Covid passports and so am not neutral. But try the app; look at the comments below. This is, literally, the worst app I have ever tried to use.”

Covid-19 patient numbers and deaths in the UK remain “stubbornly high” with “a lot of Covid about”, experts have warned - but getting unvaccinated adults to accept the jab could help flatten the third wave of the virus ahead of this winter.

Around one in 10 people aged 16 and over have still not received any doses of Covid-19 vaccine, with estimates ranging from 8% in Scotland to 12% in Northern Ireland, official figures show.

The third wave of coronavirus began in the UK at the end of May, driven by the more transmissible Delta variant of the virus and the easing of lockdown restrictions across the country. Infection levels and the number of new cases have both jumped in recent months.