Britons still broadly support COVID-19 vaccine passports

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
August 09, 2021, 11:12 AM UTC

As vaccine passports become a more realistic prospect, the public remains in favour

The Conservative party is currently at war with itself over the proposed introduction of vaccine passports. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is leading the charge to introduce the controversial measures, which would see people need to prove their vaccination status to access certain venues. However, many Conservatives MPs threaten revolt over their implementation.

The latest YouGov research reveals that public opinion has stayed much the same since March, with six in ten Britons (60%) supporting the introduction of vaccine passports sooner rather than later, including 30% who “strongly” support their implementation. This is compared to 58% of the public who backed their use in March this year.

Some 32% of Britons would be opposed to the use of vaccine passports during the vaccination programme, similar to the 34% who held this opinion in the spring.

Despite continued Tory infighting over the policy, two thirds of their voters (64%) would support plans for vaccine passports. Sentiment is similar among Labour voters, 60% of whom would also be in favour.

The previous iteration of this survey found that young people were divided over the prospect of vaccine passports during the vaccination programme, however now 18 to 24-year olds tend to oppose their introduction (48%) compared to 38% in support. Over half of 25-49 year olds (53%), and seven in ten of those 50 and over (70%) would support their introduction.

Similarly to the last survey, support for vaccine passports after everyone has been offered a vaccine is slightly higher (68%) than rolling the system out while the vaccination programme is still underway.

What venues should require vaccination passports?

In Ireland, proof of vaccination and photo ID are already a requirement for adults wishing to dine indoors at restaurants and cafes, with Costa going viral as a result. In the UK, however, no such rules yet exist, but would Britons support them if they were introduced?

Two thirds of people (67%) think that care homes should mandate full COVID-19 vaccination for visitors, compared to 24% who think they should not. 

Around half of people also think that pubs and bars (54%), gyms (53%) and cinemas (52%) should have requirements for patrons to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before being allowed to enter.

Last month, the University and College Union called on the government to require full vaccination for students who wished to return to University campuses for in-person teaching – something the government has now ruled out. However, the public tends to think it should be the rule, with 49% in favour of vaccine passports for university campuses, versus 40% opposed. Among 18-24 year olds, this opposition rises to 47%, with only 29% thinking campuses should require vaccine passports.

The British Chambers of Commerce have suggested that three in ten workplaces could ask staff to provide proof of vaccination before they are allowed to return to work, Public opinion is divided, however, with 43% in favour of workplaces using vaccine passports, and 46% opposed.

While Costa has to require proof of vaccination in Ireland, Britons do not think cafés in the UK should have to as well, with 52% opposed to cafes using vaccine passports. Previously, 44% of people thought cafes should implement vaccine passports, compared to 37% who hold that opinion now. 

Places that people are least likely to want to see vaccine passports include supermarkets (27%, -4 points since March) and outdoor areas such as pub gardens (26%, -7pts) and garden centres (25%, -4pts).

See full results here and results for March here