Eurotrack: majority support new EU Digital COVID Certificate for travel

Fintan SmithPolitical Researcher
Jemma ConnerSenior Research Executive
July 09, 2021, 10:14 AM UTC

With various national governments announcing new updates to their travel guidelines, new YouGov Eurotrack data shows that a majority across seven European countries support the EU’s answer to safe travel for the remainder of the pandemic, the ‘Digital COVID Certificate.

The new certificate acts as a vaccine passport, and allows travellers to prove that they have met at least one of three criteria: they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, they have received a negative test result, or they have had the virus and recovered. Anyone legally living in countries that recognise the certificate (all EU members, plus Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein), is eligible to use the scheme. EU nationals who have been vaccinated outside of the EU may also be eligible, depending on their home country.

This does mean that, despite substantial support for the scheme amongst Brits (68%), they will not be eligible for the digital certificate. Negotiations are ongoing between the British and European governments, with the hope being that the British equivalent to the certificate, the NHS Covid Pass, will be recognised within the EU and deemed sufficient to allow travel between Britain and EU member nations.

Support for the introduction of the certificate is high

In EU countries, support is high across all that we surveyed, but nowhere higher than in Spain where 79% of Spaniards support the move. Support is lowest in France (55%), where over a third (35%) oppose the certificate being a requirement for cross border travel within the EU.

Many will feel safer travelling thanks to the scheme

Beyond supporting the move, a large proportion of Europeans will feel safer travelling thanks to the scheme. At the top end, 63% of Spaniards say they would feel safer travelling because of the certificate, along with 51% of Italians. The Germans are the least likely to feel reassured by the scheme, with only three in ten (29%) responding that they would feel safer as a result.

Opinion is split on whether EMA licensing of vaccines is important for qualifying

With first doses of coronavirus vaccines now delivered to over 60% of EU citizens, many wishing to claim the Digital COVID Certificate will seek to qualify based on their vaccination status. However, only vaccinations licensed by the EMA are considered valid to qualify for the certificate, notably excluding those who have received the Sputnik jab, which has been rolled out in Hungary and Slovakia, and those who have received doses of the AstraZeneca jab that were manufactured in India – potentially a problem for EU citizens who received their vaccine in Britain.  

Amongst those who supported the Digital COVID certificate, opinions differ on whether those who have received the vaccines not licensed by the EMA should be able to qualify for one. Italians who support the scheme are most likely to think that travellers who have had a vaccine that has not been licensed by the EMA should still be able to get a certificate, with 56% saying that these travellers should still qualify.

Danish, Swedish and British supporters of the scheme are least likely to hold this view, with around a quarter in each country (27% in both Denmark and Sweden and 24% in Britain) believing that those who have received vaccinations currently excluded by the scheme should still qualify.

Less than a third believe the scheme should become redundant by the end of 2021

Europeans who support the introduction of the Digital COVID Certificate were also asked how long they think it should be required for travel within the EU. Fewer than one in ten supporters in every country surveyed said that they think the certificate should become redundant at the end of the summer.

In most countries surveyed, there was significant support for the scheme to run into 2022. Less than a third felt that the certificate should only be required this year. Danish supporters of the scheme are more evenly split, with 30% saying it should end this year, and the same proportion saying it should be extended to some point in 2022. There is also a large chunk who believe that the scheme should be extended beyond 2022, with over a quarter of Spanish supporters of the scheme (27%) taking this view.

See full results here