In the latest IBD/TIPP Poll, 66% of respondents support travel providers and schools requiring Covid-19 vaccines. Such proof could be offered with a vaccine passport, a paper or digital copy of someone’s vaccination record.
Meanwhile, 63% support mandated vaccines to work or attend venues such as stadiums, theaters and churches. Six in 10 support vaccine mandates to visit stores, restaurants and gyms. But vaccine passports offer their own series of equity, scientific and privacy challenges, experts say.
In an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Lawrence Gostin, Glenn Cohen and Dr. Jana Shaw argued for the use of so-called digital health passes to help facilitate a return to normalcy. Gostin and Cohen are attorneys. Shaw is a pediatric infectious disease specialist.
“Once everyone can gain access to vaccines, there is a strong ethical justification for (digital health passes) designed to create safer environments to work, shop, recreate and travel, as they represent a less restrictive alternative to current public health measures,” they wrote in the April editorial.
Vaccine Stocks: Additional Upside?
The U.S. is reportedly taking “a very close look” at requiring vaccine passports for international travel. President Joe Biden’s administration has said it won’t be involved in issuing vaccine passports, but it could take on a coordination role, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
That could buoy vaccine stocks. More than one-quarter of people in the June IBD/TIPP Poll say they won’t receive a Covid vaccine now — or at all. That 26% number has remained at a standstill for two months. Tying the ability to travel, or recreate, could boost vaccination numbers.
“Unvaccinated individuals have no right to impose risks on others, thus impeding a return to normal activities,” Gostin, Cohen and Shaw wrote in their JAMA editorial.
But state officials aren’t all on board. Earlier this year, 14 states headed by Republican governors actively banned vaccine passports.
“While we strongly recommend all Arizonans get the Covid-19 vaccine, it’s not mandated in our state — and it never will be,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in an April news release. “Vaccination is up to each individual, not the government.”
Vaccination Numbers Creep Higher
Still, the numbers play out favorably for vaccine stocks. Nearly half of Americans surveyed — 46% — are now fully inoculated with two Moderna or Pfizer jabs, or a single Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) shot. Another 17% have had a single dose of the Moderna or Pfizer shots.
Just 10% don’t yet have access to vaccines, according to the IBD/TIPP Poll.
Meanwhile, 10% don’t plan to be vaccinated soon and 16% are refusing Covid vaccines entirely. Of those resistors, the biggest share are in the Midwest and South — 32% and 29%, respectively.
Resistance declined with age. Of the resistors, more than a third were people age 18-24. Just 16% were people age 65 or older.
A combined 72% identified as Republican or Independent. The balance were Democrats.
Vaccine Stocks Eye Big Bucks
Vaccine stocks aren’t hurting for money, however.
For the year, Pfizer expects to bring in $26 billion in sales of its BioNTech (BNTX)-partnered Covid vaccine. Moderna has called for $18.4 billion in sales.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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