Covid certificates may help in increasing vaccine uptake, experts claim

WION Web Team
London, United KingdomUpdated: Dec 14, 2021, 09:52 AM IST
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The experts have also made it clear that this study needs more development and in no way can vaccine certificate be solely used to improve vaccine uptake

The more the coronavirus passports become famous, the more it could lead to increased uptake of vaccines in young people, a study has suggested.

A study conducted by scientists of University of Oxford, published in the Lancet Public Health, has claimed that there was a vaccine uptake 20 days before and 40 days after some countries introduced vaccine certificate, especially in lower-than-average vaccination coverage.

It is now being understood that vaccine certificates can help people get motivated to get vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus. “As mass vaccination programmes continue to play a central role in protecting public health in this pandemic, increasing vaccine uptake is crucial both to protect the individuals immunised and break chains of infection in the community,” Prof Melinda Mills, the director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford and the study’s lead author, said.

“Our study is an important first empirical assessment of whether COVID-19 certification can form part of this strategy. Overall, we observed a significant uptick in anticipation of restrictions coming into place about 20 days before introduction, which lasted up to 40 days after, but the context of existing vaccination uptake, vaccine hesitancy, levels of trust in authorities, and pandemic trajectory was crucial to the impact,” she added.

To conduct this study, experts linked data on Covid certification (between April to September 2021) with the vaccination rate in six countries where vaccine certificates are mandatory — Denmark, Israel, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France. Countries showed an upward curve in vaccine uptake after introduction of vaccine certificates. The additional vaccine doses per million people was reported to be 127,823 in France, 243,151 in Israel, 64,952 in Switzerland and 66,382 in Italy. However, Germany and Denmark did not see a massive change.

The experts have also made it clear that this study needs more development and in no way can vaccine certificate be solely used to improve vaccine uptake.

“We know that certain groups have lower vaccine uptake than others and it may be that Covid-19 certification is a useful way to encourage vaccine-complacent groups, such as young people and men, to get vaccinated,” study’s co-author Dr Tobias Ruttenauer, from the University of Oxford, said. “However, Covid-19 certification alone is not a silver bullet for improving vaccine uptake and must be used alongside other policies. Vaccine hesitancy due to lack of trust in authorities, which is common among some minority-ethnic and lower socioeconomic groups, may be addressed more successfully through other interventions, such as targeted vaccine drives and community dialogue to generate more understanding about Covid-19 vaccines.”