NICOLA Sturgeon has said the Cabinet will make a final decision on whether to extend the Covid vaccine certification scheme next week.

Scotland’s First Minister gave an update on the current state of the pandemic to Holyrood. It comes as several European countries see Covid cases spike, and new restrictions introduced in both Austria and the Netherlands.

She explained that we are going into a “challenging” winter period and hopes businesses can stay fully open through it – adding that extending vaccine passports may be the way to do this.

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Sturgeon said ministers will consider whether the extension would be “justified and prudent”.

Similarly to as in Wales, vaccine certification may be required at indoor cinemas, theatres and “some other licensed and hospitality premises”.

There would continue to be exemptions, including for under-18s, as well as people attending weddings, funerals, worship and related events.

A final decision will be announced next Tuesday, with any changes to come in from December 6.

During the statement, the First Minister said that the race between the vaccine and virus hasn’t yet been won despite Scotland being the most vaccinated part of the UK.

With the NHS facing extreme seasonal pressure, flu season approaching and the number of people in hospital with Covid at a “very high” level, Sturgeon said she couldn’t overstate the importance of getting vaccinated.

“Choosing without good reason not to be vaccinated is deeply irresponsible,” she told viewers, adding that getting thew Covid jag is a “civic duty”.

So far one million booster vaccines have been administered, the First Minister said, and the Scottish Government will soon be rolling out boosters for over-40s given new JCVI advice.

As well as vaccines, the First Minister said effective measures like masks and testing are making a difference. In addition, she said vaccine certification has a “proportionate and important” role.

Meanwhile on COP26, the First Minister said evidence shows the major UN event had little impact on Covid rates in Scotland.

The First Minister said just 291 people tested positive for Covid-19 following a COP26-related event, 0.5% of the total number recorded nationally in the past month. She thanked delegates for complying with rules.