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Majority of Brits back vaccine passports

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Written by: Emma Lunn
01/04/2021
A survey by Ipsos MORI UK found strong support for Covid certification – but recognise there could be legal or ethical issues.

A poll by the market research company found that the public support using so-called vaccine passports across a range of circumstances.

There is particularly strong support for their use for people who are travelling abroad (78%), for visiting relatives in hospitals (74%), or care homes (78%).

Seven in 10 (68%) say they should be needed to go to the theatre or an indoor concert, while six in 10 (62%) support needing one to go to a pub or restaurant, or to go to the gym (63%).

Brits also want to see vaccine passports being a requirement for certain jobs. For example, eight in 10 (79%) say that they should be required to work on the frontline in the NHS or care sector, while seven in 10 (69%) say the same about teaching. About two thirds of those questioned thought they should be needed to work as a tradesperson in people’s homes, in a restaurant or pub, or in a supermarket.

While people recognised some of the ethical or legal issues surrounding vaccine passports, six in 10 (62%) think the potential benefits to the economy outweigh any concerns. A similar number of people think vaccine passports are critical to getting businesses open, and a good alternative to lockdowns.

Six in 10 (61%) thought vaccine passports would be a useful means of encouraging people to get vaccinated.

Brits also suggest they may ‘vote with their feet’. For example, 65% say they would be more likely to buy a ticket for a large public event if they knew that vaccine passports were in use there, and 59% say they would be more likely to employ a plumber with a vaccine passport than one who had not been vaccinated.

However, there are some notes of caution in the findings. One in five (22%) think the ethical and legal concerns outweigh any potential benefits to the economy, while half say that vaccine passports may lead to inequalities by restricting what people who haven’t received the vaccine can do.

Kelly Beaver, managing director of public affairs at Ipsos MORI, said: “Our UK KnowledgePanel findings show that the public are once again prepared to do what it takes to get out of this pandemic. While they recognise the issues around vaccine passports, particularly their potential to exacerbate existing inequalities, their potential importance to ending lockdown and reopening the economy has won the argument for the majority of the British public.”

The government launched a review earlier this month into whether ‘Covid-status certification’ could play a role in reopening the economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety.

A separate study by travel insurer Battleface found that 62% of Brits are in favour of more countries adopting vaccination passports. But a quarter (26%) of British holidaymakers would be put off visiting a country if they were required to provide proof of a Covid-19 vaccination.

This data comes as British travellers wait for an explanation on when and how they might be able to travel internationally. Some industry experts predict a traffic light system will be implemented with travel bans continuing for red countries, limited restrictions in place for green countries, and a combination of testing, vaccination passports and quarantines for yellow and amber countries.

The European Commission has proposed a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate safe, free movement inside the European Union during the pandemic.

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