vaccine passports
Photo for illustrative purpose. Image Credit: Muhammed Nahas/Gulf News

Washington: Vaccine passports that restrict access to venues from restaurants to museums can help countries with low vaccination rates combat resistance to shots, a study published on Monday showed.

COVID-19 passes, which generally require proof of inoculation, recovery from COVID-19 or a negative test, boosted vaccinations 20 days prior to and 40 days after being introduced in places like France, Israel, Italy and Switzerland which started with below-average inoculation rates, according to research published in The Lancet.

The study, which examined data from six countries, is the first to investigate the impact of such mandates. It comes as the omicron variant spreads around the world, prompting the U.K. and others to tighten restrictions and look for fresh ways to inoculate doubters. As Germany considers mandatory vaccination, scientists found that a health pass in that country had little impact on people’s behavior because those who could be persuaded had already adopted inoculations.

The study also found little effect in Denmark, which was running low on shot doses.

Restrictions work best at increasing vaccination uptake for those under 30, who often don’t see the risk of getting Covid-19 as a sufficient reason to get a shot. In Switzerland, when vaccine passports were first put in place in nightclubs and large events, the only increase in vaccination coverage was among 20-year-olds.

“It may be that Covid-19 certification is a useful way to encourage vaccine-complacent groups,” Tobias RA.25ttenauer, a doctor at the University of Oxford who co-authored the study, said in a statement. “However, Covid-19 certification alone is not a silver bullet for improving vaccine uptake and must be used alongside other policies.”

Public-health officials should also combat vaccine hesitancy through targeted vaccine drives and communication efforts to improve knowledge about inoculations and rebuild trust in authorities especially among minorities, researchers said.