While some people are still hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a new study determined that requiring vaccine passports have contributed a lot to convincing at least some of them to go through with it.
The research was done at the University of Oxford, England and the result proved that when countries such as Israel, Italy, France and Switzerland decided to require vaccination proof to let people into restaurants, bars and to participate in certain public activities, the vaccination rates also went up.
Furthermore, people in the 20 to 40 year old age category were the most responsive to the mandates, most likely because without the jab, their social lives would have been impacted.
The difference was so significant that before the passports were made mandatory, all of the aforementioned countries were quite behind other countries around them as far as vaccination rates are concerned.
At the same time, there is also a new sense of urgency due to the emergence of the latest variant known as Omicron – which is believed to make about three percent of all new infections in the United States.
In Germany, for instance, where the vaccination rates had already been high before the mandates were put in place, the requirements did not make as much difference.
Vaccination mandates are becoming more and more common all over the world, some cities in the US implementing them as well, including San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, where vaccine proof is now mandatory for certain events and activities.
Earlier this week, the research team shared their findings in Lancet after analyzing data from 5 countries in Europe as well as Israel.
The way that they conducted the study was by comparing vaccine uptake by age group from before and after the vaccine passports became mandatory.
They also used the data from before to try and build an estimate of how many citizens would have actually gotten the shots without the mandatory passports.
The team went on to then compare their projected model to the actual numbers of people vaccinated following the mandate rollout.
It seems like these mandates were the most effective in the country of Israel, where, at some point, the vaccine uptake was no less than 4 times higher than the initial projection!
In other words, this measure has managed to increase vaccine uptake by 24 percent in Israel, where citizens are now required to show proof of vaccination to attend places of worship, gyms, sporting events, universities and different tourist attractions.
As for France, a mandate was put in place for the police, health care employees, fire service and front line employees.
Traveling long distances by train or plane or attending an event with 50 or more people also requires a vaccine passport there.
With that being said, France was able to increase its vaccine rates by 13 percent this way.
In Italy, citizens need to show proof of vaccination in different hospitality venues, at some private parties as well as at indoor sporting events.
As a result, the country saw an increase in vaccination rates of 7 percent!
Switzerland requires proof of vaccination to attend venues with over 1,000 people but also at some hospitality venues and some other indoor events.
And so, just like Italy, Switzerland managed to cause a 7 percent increase in vaccinations.
Across all of the countries involved in the study, the age group with the most increase in vaccination rates was “under 30.”
This led the researchers to think that many of the young people who were previously not as interested in getting inoculated changed their minds when their social lives were threatened.
Co-author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow from Oxford, Tobias Rüttenauer, shared in a press release that “We know certain groups have lower vaccine uptake than other groups, and it may be that COVID-19 certification is a really useful way to encourage vaccine complacent groups, like some young people and men, to get vaccinated. However, COVID-19 certification alone is not a silver bullet for improving vaccine uptake and must be used alongside other policies, such as targeted vaccine drives.”
The team of researchers also normalized the numbers of daily COVID-19 cases in order to figure out how the countries in the study compared to other ones in Europe.
They determined that the number of infections were lower in Switzerland, France and Italy after the mandates were put in place.
As for the United States, while nearly all citizens over the age of 65 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, younger people have consistently had a much lower rate of vaccination.
Furthermore, over 80 percent of people between the age of 40 and 65 have gotten at least one of the recommended doses.
In the meantime, 70 percent of the younger age group of age between 18 and 24 years old have received at least a shot, 54 percent being fully vaccinated, falling behind the other age groups, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The next least vaccinated are people of age between 25 and 39 years old, with 74 percent.
One reason why this is the case is that many younger people still believe that they are generally safe against COVID-19 since they have a lower risk of developing complications and dying.
Usually, health officials put mandates in place for a couple of different reasons.
The first one is to control the spread of COVID by allowing only vaccinated people (and therefore less likely to get infected) into crowded places and events where the virus can easily and quickly spread.
The second reason is to push unvaccinated people to get the vaccine, if only just to be able to keep their social lives active.
As it turns out, based on this new study, the second reason has worked since the vaccination rates have increased in the aftermath of the mandates being put in place.