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Comment: Half UK public support ‘health passports’

But bringing major stakeholders onboard is a big challenge, says YouGov’s Eva Satkute Stewart

A potential requirement for health certificates – or ‘passports’ – a digitally enabled solution confirming that a person has been vaccinated, is gaining support across Europe.

Destinations popular with British holidaymakers, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Cyprus, have come out in support and, should they become an official requirement to travel, it would affect millions of people.


MoreBut YouGov survey finds age divide on mandatory certification


However, the UK government is in no rush to confirm this form of certification, which leaves many of us curious about how this might affect our travel plans in 2021.

Travel sentiment among Britons had been trending downwards in recent months but the data shows the nation has felt more optimistic about being able to travel after prime minister Boris Johnson announced his plans to slowly ease the national lockdown on February 22.

Domestic travel sentiment rose from 46% during the week prior to the announcement to 55%, and international travel interest increased by six percentage points – from 28% to 34% – once clarity around the possible travel dates was provided.

As consumer confidence around travel bounced back, YouGov polled almost 6,000 people to find out if they would support the introduction of ‘vaccination passports’.

The poll found that more than half of the British public (54%) would be in favour of the introduction of vaccination passports for international travel.

Support levels among those aged 65 and over, the first in line to get the vaccine, rose to 72%.

This compared to 35% among those aged 18-24, who are yet to receive vaccines unless they meet certain criteria.

Nearly one in five Brits (19%) say they do not know enough about health passports, while 14% are concerned these could be discriminatory, risk peoples’ private data or dissuade people from taking international trips.

Bringing major stakeholders on board with health passports – governments, airlines, airports, border control and the consumer – across a variety of markets will be a big challenge.

That effort is further complicated by the myriad options being tested at the moment, or which are still in development.

For example, British Airways is currently using VeriFLY while Iata’s Travel Pass is being tested on international carriers such as Emirates and Qantas.

Health and vaccine passes may one day be a requirement for international travel, and the data so far indicates that the public would agree with such measures.

With the busy summer season just around the corner, we’ll continue to monitor how society perceives policies aimed at getting people travelling again.


Methodology: The YouGov data is based on interviews with 5,987 adults aged 18 and over in Great Britain. The survey was carried out through YouGov Daily Agenda on February 24, 2021 and results are weighted to be nationally representative.

MoreBut YouGov survey finds age divide on mandatory certification

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