Scots struggle to find vaccination passports on app stores


Scots eager to sign up for the new Covid passport app remained confused after it failed to appear in many searches on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

A QR code is now required to enter nightclubs and big events like football matches – although that won’t be legally enforced until later this month.

But many people using phones to search for it on Google play store and the Apple Store had a hard time finding it.

Most have instead received results for other Covid or health applications.

The app does not appear on Google Play Store searches like the one above

Even while typing NHS Scotland Covid Status – the official name of the application – does not display it on Google Play Store.

However, entering certain key phrases – which have not been released by health authorities – seems to be a more efficient approach, while the links to the app are available on the NHS website.

Smartphone users have expressed frustration with the situation on social media.

One user claimed the app ranked 33rd in a Google Play Store search – adding: “What a shambles.”

Another wrote: “It doesn’t show up in an App Store search – I had to go through the NHS Scotland website.”

Even those who manage to find the app, which launched on Thursday night, are reporting problems in being able to register.

Users receive an error message after entering details such as name and date of birth and providing ID.

The application says: “No matches found. Sorry, we couldn’t find you using the details provided. Please verify your information and try again.

Other error messages indicate that people’s efforts to register are “unsuccessful” or that their photo is not recognized even before it is taken.

The Scottish Government said the start-up problems were likely due to the public rushing to register at the same time.

Many app users receive an error message when trying to register. Shutterstock / DCT supports

On Thursday evening, a spokesperson said: “Some people may experience issues that could be caused by extremely high initial traffic and a large number of users trying to access the app at the same time.

“We advise people whose data is not found to try again a few hours later.”

Meanwhile, it was also reported that students – including some in St Andrews – were unable to use the app as they had foreign passports.

Opposition politicians say the Scottish government “has only a few hours” to suspend the introduction of the passport system to avoid a weekend of chaos.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said the SNP must immediately order an “indefinite delay” to the plan.

Rangers FC have already asked supporters to bring proof of vaccination to register Ibrox in Sunday’s game against Hibs.

The Scottish champions say supporters should bring a hard copy of their vaccination status if possible, although digital copies are also accepted.

So far, most of the thousands of people who have downloaded the app have given it a one star rating.

“Should have been much simpler”

Professor Bill Buchanan OBE of Edinburgh’s Napier University, a UK tech expert, insists the app should have been a fairly straightforward tool to produce.

He said, “It seems over-designed and untested on a large scale or for usability.

“The previous website [used to print off proof of vaccination] worked pretty well for correspondence so I don’t understand why they didn’t just put it into an app.

“The previous system produced an unsecured, digitally unsigned PDF, so maybe they should have corrected it and ported it to an application.

“It should have been a lot simpler than what they put in place.”

“The problems are being resolved”

A Scottish government spokesperson said: ‘More than 70,000 people downloaded the app yesterday (Thursday).

“This huge demand has meant that some people have experienced delays and we are sorry that has happened.

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

Which search terms worked and which didn’t?

On Google Play Store:

Covid Scotland Status – No

Covid Scotland – No

Covid application – No

Covid Vaccine Passport Application – No

Vaccine against Covid Scotland – No

Vaccination passport Scotland – No

NHS Scotland vaccination passport – No

Scot NHS – Yes (fifth on the list)

NHS Scotland Covid Passport – No

On the Apple App Store:

Covid Status Scotland – Yes

Covid Scotland – Yes (14th on the list)

Covid application – No

Covid Vaccine Passport Application – No

Vaccine against Covid Scotland – No

Vaccination passport Scotland – No

NHS Scotland vaccination passport – No

Scottish NHS – No

NHS Scotland Covid Passport – No

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