Global public backs COVID-19 vaccine passports for international travel

Survey finds mixed views about mandating vaccine certificates for everyday activities

The author(s)

  • Natalie Lacey Public Affairs, USA
  • Nicolas Boyon Public Affairs, US
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Washington, DC, April 28, 2021 — A new Ipsos survey for the World Economic Forum finds that, on average, about three in four adults across 28 countries agree that COVID-19 vaccine passports should be required of travelers to enter their country and that they would be effective in making travel and large events safe. About two in three say they should be required to access large public venues and as many expect they will be widely used in their country.

On the other hand, only about half agree they should be required for shops, restaurants, and offices. That 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.

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.

Detailed Findings

Views about vaccine passports

In the 28-country survey, 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.

 

On average, globally:

  • 78% agree that travelers entering their country should be required to have a vaccine passport; a majority agree in each of the 28 countries surveyed – from 92% in Malaysia and 90% in Peru to 52% in Hungary and 58% in Poland;
  • 73% agree that vaccine passports would be effective in making travel and large events safe; a majority in every country agree – from 84% in mainland China and Argentina and 82% in Peru, Malaysia, and India, to 52% in Hungary and 53% in Russia;
  • 67% agree that large public venues should require a vaccine passport with the highest  agreement levels in India, Chile, and Malaysia (82% in all three), while Russia and Hungary are the only two countries surveyed where fewer agree (31% and 47%, respectively) than disagree (59% and 49%);
  • 66% agree that vaccine passports will be widely used in their country by the end of the year, with wide differences across countries – eight in ten in India and Peru agree (81% both) while it is the case of fewer than half in Russia (32%), Japan (43%), and Poland (45%);
  • 55% agree that vaccine passports should be required in shops, restaurants, and offices across all countries with views also varying widely across countries –  from strong support in India (78% agree), Chile (75%), and Peru (70%) to widespread opposition in Russia (72% disagree), Hungary (59%), Poland (55%), the United States (52%), and Belgium (52%).

In general, favorability toward vaccine passports varies little by gender, but it tends to be higher among older adults and those with a higher level of education.

Allowing access to health data and vaccination records

In the survey conducted across 28 countries, over eight in ten on average say they are comfortable allowing their doctor access to their personal health data and vaccination records. However, just over half among those who are employed say so about their employer, half of all adults say so about their country’s government, and only four in ten adults about private companies.

 

More precisely, on average globally:

  • 84% of adults say they are comfortable with their doctor having access to their health data and vaccination record, including 50% who say that they are very comfortable; the prevalence of comfort sharing health data with one’s physician ranges from 93% in mainland China and Belgium and 91% in Canada to 66% in South Korea and 67% in Russia;
  • 56% of employed adults report being comfortable with their employer having access to their personal health information, with 21% being very comfortable; India (78%), mainland China (77%), and Saudi Arabia (74%) show the highest levels of comfort with allowing employers access to personal health data while France (27%) and the Netherlands (29%) show the lowest;
  • 50% of adults say they are comfortable with their government having access to their health data and vaccination record, with 18% saying they are very comfortable with it; comfort with allowing government access to personal health data and vaccination records varies widely across countries – from 86% in mainland China, 78% in India, and 73% in Malaysia to only 28% in Russia and Poland and 30% in the Netherlands;
  • Only 40% say they are comfortable allowing private companies to access their health data and vaccination record while 53% are not; the only countries where at least 50% are comfortable with it are India (68%), mainland China (67%), Saudi Arabia (66%), Malaysia (57%), and Turkey (50%) while discomfort is most prevalent in the Netherlands (77%) and France (74%).

Overall, older people tend to be more comfortable letting their doctor have access to their health and vaccination information than are younger people. In contrast, younger people tend to be more comfortable allowing their employer, their government, and private companies to access their personal health information. People with higher levels of education are slightly more comfortable with their doctor, their government, and private companies having access to their health data than those with lower levels of education.

Limiting activities involving large groups of people only to those who have been vaccinated

In the 12-country survey, all adults were asked to identify which of two opinions is closest to theirs:  

  • Only those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 should be allowed to do things involving large groups of people, such as taking public transit, flying, and attending cultural and sporting events (on average 54% selected this answer), or  
  • Limiting these activities only to those who have been vaccinated is unfair to those who have not (46% chose this answer).

More than six in ten adults in Brazil (63%), the United States (62%), and Canada (61%) believe activities involving large groups should be limited to the vaccinated. In contrast, majorities in France (57%), Spain (55%), Japan (53%), and Germany (53%) believe it is unfair.


Length of time vaccine certificate or passport should be required for activities and travel

On average, across 12 countries surveyed, one-third (32%) say that a vaccine certificate or passport should only be required for only a few months, another third (32%) until at least the end of the year, one quarter (23%) for the next several years, and 13% indefinitely.
The views that vaccine passport requirements should be limited to only a few months is most prevalent in Spain (54%) and Mexico (48%). Japan is the only country where a majority say vaccine passports should be required for the next several years or indefinitely.

About the Study
These are findings from two surveys of adults under the age of 75 conducted by Ipsos on its
The sample of the 28-country survey consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and Turkey.
The sample of the 12-country survey consists of approximately 2,000 individuals in the U.S.; 1,500 each in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain; and 1,000 each in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), Japan, and Mexico.
The samples consist of adults aged 18-74 in the U.S., Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, and aged 16-74 in all other countries.
The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75.
The samples in Brazil, Chile, China (mainland), Colombia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of their population.
The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.
Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of don't know or not stated responses.
The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of N=2,000 accurate to +/-2.5 percentage points, of N=1,500 accurate to 2.9 percentage points, of N=1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points, and of N= 500 accurate to +/- 4.8 percentage points. For more information on Ipsos’s use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.
The publication of these findings abides by local rules and regulations.

The author(s)

  • Natalie Lacey Public Affairs, USA
  • Nicolas Boyon Public Affairs, US

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