As COVID-19 continues to ravage our world, new research for the World Economic Forum shows that more than three-quarters of people around the world think vaccine passports should be mandatory for travel.
Ipsos surveyed over 21,000 people in 28 countries and found strong support (78%) for requiring travellers to carry COVID passports. The strongest support was in Malaysia and Peru where 92% and 90% of people backed vaccine passports for travel.
There was a majority in favour of vaccine passports in every nation surveyed. Citizens of Hungary (52% in favour) and Poland (58%) were the least enthusiastic about the idea.
Almost three-quarters (73%) said vaccine passports would make travel and large events safer, with support ranging from more than eight in 10 people in Argentina, China, India, Malaysia and Peru to 52% in Hungary and 53% in Russia.
Globally, 67% said COVID-19 passports should also be compulsory in public venues like stadiums and concert halls with the strongest support in India, Chile and Malaysia (all 84%) while in Russia and Hungary only 31% and 47% agreed they were necessary.
Two-thirds of those surveyed (66%) said they expected vaccine passports to be in widespread use in their country by the end of this year, although there were wide variations in opinions ranging from 81% in India and Peru to fewer than a third (32%) in Russia.
More than half of those surveyed worldwide (55%) said that people entering shops, restaurants and offices should also be required to carry a vaccine passport. The idea was least popular in Russia (20%) and the strongest support was in India where 78% backed this measure.
Opinions globally vary about who should have access to personal medical records to issue vaccination passports. More than four-fifths (84%) would allow their doctor to have access, 56% their employer, 50% their government, but only 40% would trust private companies.
A second survey of 15,000 people in 12 countries, also conducted by Ipsos, found sharply divided opinions about how long vaccine passports should be required.
Almost a third said they should be used for only a few months, 32% were happy to see them in use up to the end of the year, 23% thought they should remain in use for several years and 13% indefinitely.
Strongest support for retaining them for only a few months came from Spain (54%) and Mexico (48%) while Japan was the only nation where a majority supported requiring vaccine passports for several years or indefinitely.
When asked in the same survey if they thought only people who had been vaccinated should be allowed to take part in events involving large groups like using public transport, flying or attending sporting and cultural events, more than half (54%) agreed with this restriction.
Support for banning the unvaccinated from public events and transport was strongest in Brazil, the United States and Canada where more than six in 10 backed the idea.
However, globally, 46% thought limiting freedom in this way was unfair to those who had not been vaccinated, with the strongest objections being from France (57%), Spain (55%), Japan (53%) and Germany (53%).
This article was previously published in the World Economic Forum.
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