One in two UK residents would be willing to adopt vaccination ‘passports’ for international travel, according to research by Surrey University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
However, half the population remain undecided about the use of vaccination certificates or would be unwilling to use them.
The university researchers concluded: “It is clear issues pertaining to privacy and exclusion will need to be addressed.”
The government has made both digital and paper Covid-vaccination certificates available via the NHS App and helpline for entry to countries which require certification. However, these so far have limited application since they are not accepted in lieu of Covid-testing on return to the UK.
Surrey University researchers Professor Iis Tussyadiah, Dr Athina Ioannou and Professor Graham Miller undertook two pieces of research – an online survey of 1,000 UK residents in mid-May, and an analysis of social media between December and April which extracted ‘major themes’ from tweets using a type of analysis known as ‘topic modelling’.
They concluded UK residents “have a positive outlook on vaccine passports”, but reported that “about one-third” agreed “vaccine passports will restrict individual freedom, increase discrimination and threaten privacy.
“Half of those surveyed stated they intend to use vaccine passports in general for travel and to go to pubs, restaurants and shops. Only 20% reported being unwilling to use them, with 30% undecided.”
Asked about their travel intentions, “about one-third” of respondents reported an intention to travel domestically after ‘step three’ of the government’s reopening from May 24, and “more than half” to travel domestically after ‘step four’, due from June 21.
The number intending to travel overseas was smaller: 15% said they planned to travel internationally after May 24, rising to 25% after June 21.
Professor Tussyadiah, acting head of the school of hospitality and tourism management, noted “a weak but significant correlation” between those intending to travel and positive sentiment towards vaccine ‘passports’.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, who is leading a review into a domestic certification scheme, revealed last week that the government has yet to decide whether to press ahead. Gove added that whatever is decided, certification would no longer be needed by “later this year or early next”. The EU insists it is on course to introduce a Digital Covid Certificate for travel from July 1.