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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: A "step too far" or "perfect sense"? A qualitative study of British adults' views on mandating COVID-19 vaccination and vaccine passports
Author(s): Stead, Martine
Ford, Allison
Eadie, Douglas
Biggs, Hannah
Elliott, Claire
Ussher, Michael
Bedford, Helen
Angus, Kathryn
Hunt, Kate
MacKintosh, Anne Marie
Jessop, Curtis
MacGregor, Andy
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Keywords: COVID-19
Mandatory vaccination
Vaccine passports
Public attitudes
Issue Date: 3-Jun-2022
Date Deposited: 29-Jun-2022
Citation: Stead M, Ford A, Eadie D, Biggs H, Elliott C, Ussher M, Bedford H, Angus K, Hunt K, MacKintosh AM, Jessop C & MacGregor A (2022) A "step too far" or "perfect sense"? A qualitative study of British adults' views on mandating COVID-19 vaccination and vaccine passports. Vaccine.
Abstract: Background Debate is ongoing about mandating COVID-19 vaccination to maximise uptake. Policymakers must consider whether to mandate, for how long, and in which contexts, taking into account not only legal and ethical questions but also public opinion. Implementing mandates among populations who oppose them could be counterproductive. Methods Qualitative telephone interviews (Feb-May 2021) with British adults explored views on vaccine passports and mandatory vaccination. Participants (n = 50) were purposively selected from respondents to a probability-based national survey of attitudes to COVID-19 vaccination, to include those expressing vaccine-hesitancy. Data were analysed thematically. Findings Six themes were identified in participants’ narratives concerning mandates: (i) mandates are a necessary and proportionate response for some occupations to protect the vulnerable and facilitate the resumption of free movement; (ii) mandates undermine autonomy and choice; (iii) mandates represent an over-reach of state power; (iv) mandates could potentially create ‘vaccine apartheid’; (v) the importance of context and framing; and (vi) mandates present considerable feasibility challenges. Those refusing vaccination tended to argue strongly against mandates. However, those in favour of vaccination also expressed concerns about freedom of choice, state coercion and social divisiveness. Discussion To our knowledge, this is the first in-depth UK study of public views on COVID-19 vaccine mandates. It does not assess support for different mandates but explores emotions, principles and reasoning underpinning views. Our data suggest that debate around mandates can arouse strong concerns and could entrench scepticism. Policymakers should proceed with caution. While surveys can provide snapshots of opinion on mandates, views are complex and further consultation is needed regarding specific scenarios.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2022.05.072
Rights: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. You are not required to obtain permission to reuse this article.
Notes: Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
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