Australians overwhelmingly support mandatory COVID-19 vaccine passports

Nation largely backs requiring vaccine certificates to enter Australia and access large venues, but is divided on their use to enter shops, restaurants, and offices

More than 85% of Australians agree that COVID-19 vaccine passports should be required for travellers entering the country, with three in four stating the passports would be effective in making travel and large events safe, a new Ipsos survey for the World Economic Forum has revealed.

The global study, carried out across 28 countries, found a vast majority of people worldwide, including Australians, overwhelmingly support a vaccine passport for travellers entering their respective countries. Nationally, 70% of adults agree all large venues, like stadiums and concert halls, should also require a vaccine passport, with the same amount believing the vaccine passport system would be widely used by the end of the year.

Views were split, however, on the use of mandatory vaccine passports at all shops, restaurants and offices, with just over half (54.5%) of Australians in agreement. The nation was also divided on how long vaccine travel certificates should remain in place, with a third agreeing that they should be in place until at least until the end of the year and 28% saying for the next several years. A further 18% believe they should remain in place indefinitely.

Ipsos defined a COVID-19 vaccine passport as a record or health data certificate that would prove whether an individual has been vaccinated against COVID-19 or has recently tested negative for COVID-19, and that would be accessible electronically (e.g., on mobile phone apps) or as a printed document or card.

Interestingly, more than half of Australians are behind the notion that only people who have been vaccinated should be allowed to participate in activities involving large groups, including using public transit, air travel, and attending cultural and sporting events.

Globally, 78% agree vaccine passports should be required for travellers entering their respective countries and that they would be effective in making travel and large events safe. Support is heaviest in Malaysia and across South America, while only half of people in Hungary, Russia and Poland agree.

Two in three adults surveyed globally say vaccine passports should be required to access large public venues and as many expect they will be widely used in their country. Agreement levels are highest in India, Malaysia and Chile (82% respectively). However, only half (55%) worldwide agree vaccine passports should be required for shops, restaurants and offices, with lowest support in Russia (20%), Poland (36%) and the US (37%).

The key Australian findings from the survey are:

  • 5% agree all travellers entering the country should require a vaccine passport
  • 5% agree vaccine passports would be effective in making travel and large events safe
  • 3% agree all large venues should be required to have a vaccine passport
  • Just over half (54.5%) agree all shops, restaurants and offices should have them
  • Nearly 70% believe the passports will be widely used by the end of the year
  • A third of Australians believe the vaccine travel certificate should be in place until at least the end of the year, while 28% said for the next several years
  • 53% believe only people who have been vaccinated should be allowed to do things that involve large groups like using public transit, flying and attending cultural/sporting events.

Another Ipsos survey conducted online among more than 15,000 adults across 12 countries, April 8-11, finds the global public sharply divided about whether only those who have been vaccinated should be allowed to take part in activities involving large groups of people such as taking public transit, flying, and attending cultural and sporting, or events.

Read the World Economic Forum article.

Access to health records

The same survey conducted online among over 21,000 adults between March 26 and April 9, 2021 finds that, on average across 28 countries, just 50% are comfortable allowing their government to access their personal health information and 40% in the case of private companies.

Nearly 90% of Australians are comfortable with their doctor accessing their records, in vast contrast to just 38% being comfortable with a private company like an airline or hotel accessing their health data. Two in three Aussies are comfortable with their employer accessing their records.

Ipsos Australia Director, Jessica Elgood, said: “The significant support for vaccine passports among Australians suggests the nation is keen to get back to the pre-COVID-19 state-of-play where travelling and attending large-scale sporting events and concerts was the norm.”

“Interestingly, there is divided opinion on the mandatory use of vaccine passports for shops, offices and restaurants, along with the exclusion of people from travel and events if they aren’t vaccinated. People want to see a measured approach to the use of vaccine passports to ensure there is a balance between maintaining public safety and strict regulations around day-to-day activities.”

Society