A majority of Americans in a new poll said they support requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination — but only for some activities.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents said in a Gallup poll released Friday that they would approve of vaccine passports as a requirement for airplane travel while 55% favored passports before someone could attend events with large crowds such as sporting events and concerts. There was less support for requiring vaccination passports for going to work (45%), staying at a hotel (44%) and dining at a restaurant indoors (40%).
The use of vaccine passports to prove inoculation against the coronavirus has become a controversial topic, and the governors of some states, including Arizona, Florida and Texas, have issued executive orders barring the use of vaccine passports.
But Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, told NBC News that “governors have no power to prohibit cities or counties from issuing passports or banning the private sector.”
Opinions about vaccine passports varied based on a person’s vaccination status. For instance, 74% of Americans who have been or plan to be vaccinated said in the survey that they favor using passports for airplane travel while 8% of people who won’t be vaccinated said the same.
People who are “not too” or “not at all” worried about COVID-19 were less likely to support vaccine passports, with no more than 49% saying they would support proof of vaccination for any of the five activities. Meanwhile, between 55% to 77% of people who are “somewhat” or “very worried” about COVID-19 said they favor vaccine passports for all activities they were asked about.
Responses were also partisan. Majorities of Democrats said they support using vaccine passports for all the activities listed while no more than 28% of Republicans said they favor requiring people to prove vaccination.
The Biden administration said in March that it wouldn’t build a national vaccination app, but that doesn’t mean private companies won’t create digital passports for COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that around 149.5 million people in the U.S., comprising 45% of the country’s total population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including around 108.9 million who have been fully vaccinated.
The Gallup survey was conducted April 19-25 with a sample size of 3,731 adults and a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.