One in two of the UK population are in favour of mandatory health passports for international travel, according to a YouGov survey.

However, the support is overwhelmingly among older adults, with backing among younger people half the rate of those over 65.

YouGov surveyed almost 6,000 UK adults in late February and found 54% agreed that ‘Health passports should be required for anyone who wants to travel overseas’.

One in five (18%) said health passports should not be required because they would be “discriminatory”, “not necessary”, “risk personal data” or present an obstacle to travel. A further one in five (19%) said they did not know enough about health passports, and 9% just did not know.

Support was highest among those over 65 at 72% and was 60% among those aged 50 to 65.

However, just one in three adults aged 18-24 (35%) supported health passports and 45% of 25-29 year olds. Support was also lower in London at 45%.

The support for health passports among older UK adults would appear to reflect the fact that most have been vaccinated whereas younger adults, unless vulnerable to Covid-19, have not.

However, the findings may be complicated by YouGov asking whether health passports “should be required to travel overseas” as this could be interpreted as erecting a barrier to travel for those without access to vaccines or tests rather than facilitating travel.

The survey defined a health passport as “indicating Covid-19 immunity” which could include a negative test result or a positive antibody test.

Scientific evidence of the duration of immunity remains unclear both from vaccination and following Covid-19 infection.

Aviation leaders have criticised references to ‘health’ or vaccination passports’ pointing out these would not be required for travel, unlike a passport.

Insistence on vaccination would also be discriminatory and is opposed by Iata and other travel bodies, while the World Health Organisation currently opposes vaccination certificates for travellers.

However, there is growing support for digital vaccination certificates to be utilised alongside digital Covid-19 test certificates for international travel.

YouGov surveyed 5,987 UK adults aged 18 and over on February 24.