A majority of Canadians are in favour of using COVID-19 vaccine passports in order to travel, attend university or go to a concert, according to the latest Ipsos polling.
The Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News found that 72 per cent of respondents supported vaccine passports when flying on a plane. And 67 per cent said they liked the idea of the passports for indoor concerts, theatres and museums. The same number supported the idea when attending post-secondary education.
“I think Canadians are becoming quite supportive of vaccine passports as they become vaccinated themselves,” said Sean Simpson, vice president of Ipsos.
“Clearly, if you have a vaccine already in you, you’re going to be more supportive of a vaccine passport, that’s no skin off your back.”
However, support for vaccine passports is “obviously less” for people who have not received a shot, or plan not to get one, Simpson said.
“Still, in almost every case that we tested, whether it’s for travel to go to university or college, for indoor events, for outdoor events, a majority of those people, even those that haven’t been vaccinated, support the idea of a vaccine passport,” Simpson added.
More than six in 10 respondents said they also want these passports for outdoor concert events.
The highest support for COVID-19 vaccine passports (74 per cent) was for visiting a senior’s facility.
The Canadian government previously said it’s talking with international partners about the development of COVID-19 vaccination certificate systems for travel.
“As was the case pre-pandemic, certificates of vaccination are a part of international travel to certain regions and are naturally to be expected when it comes to this pandemic and the coronavirus,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference last month.
However, the feds still have not laid out any details on what the government is doing now — if anything — to prepare for such passports for Canadians who have gotten their COVID-19 vaccines.
Canada’s privacy commissioners on Wednesday said the country is outlining strict guidelines for the introduction of passports because they would be “an encroachment on civil liberties that should be taken only after careful consideration.”
While Canada waits to iron on the details, other nations are working ahead on the vaccine passports.
The European Union is working on a COVID-19 certificate with a digital Quick Response (QR) code while Britain plans to use a phone app.
China is working toward launching certificates that will declare a person’s vaccination status or recent test results, according to the Wall Street Journal.
And Israel already has one, which is called a “green pass” system that allows vaccinated people access to theatres, concert halls, gyms, indoor restaurants and bars.
The concept of vaccine passports is a contentious topic, especially among young Canadians, the poll showed.
For example, 44 per cent of respondents aged 18-34 were opposed to vaccine passports when attending outdoor concert events, while only 24 per cent of those aged 55 plus were against it.
Because of this, Simpson believes it may be a tough issue for politicians to get behind, despite the majority of Canadian supporting it.
“The Liberal government likes to call (on) the support of younger voters,” Simpson said.
“And so if this is a contentious issue, particularly among those people, again, it may not be a vote winner. So even though the public is largely behind it, I don’t know whether we’re going to see politicians jumping on that bandwagon, so to speak, and actually proposing it as a matter of public policy.”
Vaccine hesitancy down
Despite provincial decisions to pause the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, after it had been linked to rare blood clots, other attitudes toward vaccines have remained fairly stable since last month, the Ipsos poll found.
Vaccine hesitancy though is subsiding.
“The interesting part about vaccine hesitancy is that it actually has been declining, even though we’ve had these issues surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine. So one might think that in that context, hesitancy should be rising,” Simpson said.
But the more people who get vaccinated, the less afraid people get, he explained.
“The key antidote to combat vaccine hesitancy is seeing those around you being vaccinated,” Simpson said. “And so when you’re seeing your friends, your family, your parents or grandparents being vaccinated and most of them have had no adverse effects, you’re more likely to want to get the vaccine yourself.”
Nearly eight in 10 of the respondents said they would personally take a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they could, without hesitation, which is up three points since last month.
A slim majority (54 per cent) said they are concerned about the potential long-term effects of taking a COVID-19 vaccine — down four points.
Eighty-four per cent said people should be able to choose which vaccine they receive. This is up two points.
And 61 per cent of unvaccinated Canadians said which vaccine they are offered will affect whether they get inoculated, which is down three points.
Support for a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine has also softened in Canada.
More than six in 10 respondents said they were in favour of a mandatory inoculation, down six points from last month. But support was significantly higher for those who have been vaccinated (74 per cent) versus those who had not been (49 per cent).
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 12 and 14, 2021, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
— With files from Reuters