Vaccine Passports Help Boost Lagging Vaccination Rates | Global Health | JAMA | JAMA Network
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Global Health
January 18, 2022

Vaccine Passports Help Boost Lagging Vaccination Rates

JAMA. 2022;327(3):209. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.23676

Policies requiring people to show proof that they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from the illness, or recently tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 before they can travel internationally or go to nightclubs, gyms, or other public places could increase vaccinations in countries with low uptake, according to a study of these policies in 6 European countries.

A recent study showed that policies requiring proof of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 helped to increase vaccination rates in 4 European countries.

The investigators examined vaccination trends starting 20 days before the policies became effective and for 40 days afterward. Computer modeling matched the study countries with others that didn’t implement restrictive policies but had similar demographics, vaccination uptake, prevention measures, and COVID-19 cases to determine what would have happened if the policies hadn’t been put in place.

Among the study countries, daily vaccinations increased in the weeks before the policies became effective and stayed higher than in control countries for up to 40 days in France, Israel, Italy, and Switzerland, all of which started with below-average vaccination rates. Germany, which started with an average vaccination rate, derived no clear benefit from the policy. Denmark’s policy, which emphasized testing because of limited vaccine availability, also provided no distinct advantage.

People younger than 30 years had the largest increase in vaccinations after the policies were enacted, suggesting that restrictions might help improve vaccine uptake in younger people who sometimes are hesitant or complacent, the authors noted. In countries that restricted entry to a nightclub or events with more than 1000 people, vaccinations increased among people younger than 20 years. When countries established requirements for a wider array of settings, vaccinations also increased among adults aged 30 to 49 years.