COVID certificates: where do the public stand?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
April 12, 2021, 3:25 PM UTC

Following further details on government plans for a vaccine passport, are Britons still in favour?

In providing further clarification on their plans for so-called “vaccine passports”, the government has announced they are contemplating a more wide-ranging scheme.

Plans are under consideration for “COVID certificates” that would not only provide proof that someone has had a COVID vaccine, but also show whether someone has recently tested negative for COVID, or has immunity status from a previous infection.

If introduced, this would allow venues who limit patrons to only those with COVID certificates to drop their social distancing and other pandemic restrictions.

New YouGov polling conducted for The Times reveals that six in ten Britons (61%) support the idea of COVID certificates – including over a quarter (28%) who are strongly supportive of such plans. This represents little change compared to the 58% of Britons who supported vaccine passports for COVID-19 in an earlier survey.

Approaching three quarters of people aged 65 and over (73%) would support the use of COVID certificates, compared to 45% of those aged 18 to 24.

The idea also enjoys cross party support, with 65% of Conservative voters in favour, as well as 59% of Labour supporters.

Britons support using COVID certificates in a range of public spaces, and say its more likely to make them visit 

Of the places YouGov asked about, Britons are most supportive of using COVID certificates in large capacity venues such as music festivals (62%) and sports stadiums (62%). This is closely followed by six in ten (60%) who would support nightclubs requiring patrons to show evidence they are immune or have recently tested negative for the virus.

As people in England head back to pub gardens this week, some 57% of Britons would support pubs and bars having a similar requirement of potential patrons to allow them to operate without the need for social distancing or outdoor seating only. A similar proportion (54%) support their use in restaurants also.

The only place Britons think should not introduce the use of COVID certificates is non-essential and clothing retailers, with 53% of people opposed to them doing so.

Despite vocal concerns from Lib Dem leader Ed Davey on the potential impact of a COVID-19 vaccine passport scheme on hospitality. However, YouGov research suggests quite the opposite, with Britons tending to be either just as likely or more likely to visit venues if they have a COVID certificate requirement.

Over a quarter (28%) say a COVID certificate requirement would make them more likely to visit a pub or bar and 28% say it wouldn’t put them off anyway. Only 19% say they would less likely to visit their local if it implemented a COVID certificate requirement on drinkers.

Sentiment is similar for restaurants with 33% more likely to dine out in a venue with a COVID certificate requirement and 33% saying it wouldn’t make a difference.

See full results here