COVID-19 Certification Mandates May Increase Vaccine Uptake

Country-specific information, such as prior vaccination uptake, vaccine hesitancy may influence the effect of COVID-19 certification mandates

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WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Mandatory COVID-19 certification may increase vaccine uptake, but the results may vary according to country-specific conditions, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in The Lancet Public Health.

Melinda C. Mills, Ph.D., and Tobias Rüttenauer, both from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, investigated the effect of mandatory COVID-19 certification on vaccine uptake. The model compared six countries (Denmark, Israel, Italy, France, Germany, and Switzerland) that introduced certification (April to August 2021) to 19 control countries. COVID-19 certification meant showing vaccination, a recent negative test, or proof of recovery.

The researchers found that COVID-19 certification led to increased vaccinations 20 days before implementation in anticipation, with a lasting effect up to 40 days after. This increase was more pronounced in countries with preintervention uptake that was below average (e.g., France) compared with those where uptake was already average or higher. There was no effect in countries that already had average uptake (e.g., Germany), and there was an unclear effect when certificates were introduced during a period of limited vaccine supply (e.g., Denmark).

"Mandatory COVID-19 certification could increase vaccine uptake, but interpretation and transferability of findings need to be considered in the context of preexisting levels of vaccine uptake and hesitancy, eligibility changes, and the pandemic trajectory," the authors write.

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