Vulnerable people will be required to have the booster to access public places in France, a move which Britons would welcome
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that French citizens aged 65 and over, as well as those deemed at high risk of catching COVID-19, will be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster. Without a booster jab, these groups will be unable to visit public places such as restaurants or use public transport – with the policy policed using the French COVID health pass system.
In the UK, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said the government was not looking at the idea yet but declined to rule it out altogether.
New research from YouGov reveals that the vast majority of people would support mandating a booster jab for not only the elderly or vulnerable but the wider population as well.
Overall, 69% of people would support making booster jabs a requirement for people aged 65 and over – including 45% strongly supportive of the idea. Only one in five people (21%) would oppose such an idea.
A similar 71% of the public would support a booster mandate for people considered to be at high risk from COVID-19 who want to visit restaurants or use public transport.
Just shy of two-thirds of people (62%) would also support making booster jabs a requirement for the general public. This includes 36% who “strongly” support doing so. A quarter of people (25%) would oppose such a mandate on the general public.
It is the older generations who are most in favour of these mandates, even when they selectively apply to older people. Some 84% of those aged 65 and over would support a requirement for people their age to have a booster before visiting public spaces. This compares to six in ten (60%) of people aged between 18 and 24 who would also support such a policy.
This older age group are also the most likely to support a mandate on boosters for those at high-risk from COVID-19 (86%) and a similar proportion would support one on the general public (82%). Only 48% of those aged between 18 and 24 would support a booster requirement on the general public, with 34% opposed.
Britons think a COVID-19 booster mandate would reduce hospitalisations, deaths, and case numbers
This high level of support comes as little surprise, considering how effective Britons think a mandate on booster jabs for the over 65s and vulnerable would be.
Six in ten people (63%) think requiring the over 65s and vulnerable to have a COVID-19 booster jab before being allowed to use public transport or restaurants would be effective at reducing the number of people catching COVID-19. Only 22% think it would not do well at reducing case numbers.
Another 75% think such a diktat would be effective at reducing the number of people needing to be hospitalised due to the virus – this includes two in five (41%) who think a booster requirement among these groups would be very effective at reducing hospitalisations.
A similar proportion of the public (74%) say the number of deaths from COVID-19 could be effectively reduced by requiring the over 65s and high-risk patients to have the booster vaccine.
The older generations are again the most likely to think the French policy would be effective in the UK. For example, some 81% think it would be effective at cutting cases of COVID-19, compared to 49% of people aged between 18 and 24 – 32% of these younger adults think it would ineffective at doing so, with 20% unsure. Further to this, 86% of those aged 65 and over think mandating boosters for at risk and elderly Britons would reduce the number of deaths due to COVID-19, an opinion shared by 68% of people aged between 18 and 24.