What is the public perception surrounding COVID immunity certificates?

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Immunity certificates are a controversial topic. While some individuals view them as necessary in order to protect others against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and prevent another surge in cases, others view them as an intrusion on their privacy and discriminatory against those who cannot be vaccinated.

As false news around vaccination and COVID-19 continues to spread, these views can become more and more confusing and intertwined. In a recent study published on the preprint server medRxiv*, researchers from Brunel University London investigate views on immunity certificates and how they interact with other opinions on the pandemic.

Study: Individual factors influencing public's perceptions about the importance of COVID-19 immunity certificates: a cross-sectional online questionnaire survey in the UK. Image Credit: millering / Shutterstock.com

This news article was a review of a preliminary scientific report that had not undergone peer-review at the time of publication. Since its initial publication, the scientific report has now been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in a Scientific Journal. Links to the preliminary and peer-reviewed reports are available in the Sources section at the bottom of this article. View Sources

About the study

The researchers obtained cross-sectional data from an online anonymous questionnaire survey. After excluding participants who failed attention checks and a duplicate responder, a total of 534 unique respondents were used for the current study. All study participants were 18 years or older, and demographically representative of the United Kingdom in terms of their age, gender, and ethnicity.

All study participants measured the perceived importance of vaccination, willingness to share immunity status, lifestyle, and socio-demographic characteristics through six questions that inquire about each immunity certificate. The respondents were asked to reply to each question with ‘strongly disagree’, ‘somewhat disagree’, ‘neither agree nor disagree’, ‘somewhat agree’ or ‘strongly agree.’

The six questions included in the current study were:

  • ‘I feel that without ‘A’ I won’t be able to return to my workplace’.
  • ‘I feel that without ‘A’ my chances of getting a job will be affected’
  • ‘I feel that without ‘A’ I won’t be able to book face-to-face appointments with my GP/dentist’
  • ‘I feel that without ‘A’ I won’t be able to go to the theatre/movies/sports events’
  • ‘I feel that without ‘A’ I won’t be able to travel internationally
  • ‘I feel that without ‘A’ I will not enjoy the same liberties I did before the pandemic’

Study findings

In general, the respondents felt that returning to their workspace and getting a job would not be greatly affected; however, the other four questions showed much higher responses for ‘somewhat agree’ and ‘strongly agree.’ The responses were indexed by rating responses from one to five and taking the average.

The respondents’ personal beliefs about COVID-19 were measured using tactics adapted from previous studies including perceived risk of contracting the virus and the severity of the consequences if an individual did contract the virus. Generally, individuals showed good internal consistency for these factors, with a Cronbach’s Alpha score of 0.7 or higher.

Normally, the scientists would examine views on vaccination; however, at the time of the study, 75% of the adult population were vaccinated. Therefore, the researchers questioned individuals on the feelings of vaccine effectiveness, worries about non-U.K. approved vaccines, as well as a feeling of safety around vaccinated people.

Questions were also asked to determine the lifestyle of individuals pre-COVID, including frequency of social activities, travel and time spent in public or visiting a healthcare facility, as well as their willingness to share their immunity status to use certain facilities such as their physician’s office, travel, and nightlife. Finally, questions were asked around feelings of hopelessness, mental wellbeing, and net income compared to before the pandemic.

The researchers employed a multiple stepwise linear regression analysis to examine the results, wherein the methods allow for regression a number of times, each time removing the weakest correlation. Moreover, the researchers examined certificate severity, as defined as the respondents’ perceived importance of immunity certificates, as the dependents variables, and the answers to the questions as independent variables. Stepwise regression analysis was also used to examine vaccination views, risk index, and mental wellbeing during the pandemic.

To this end, those who perceived themselves as more at risk of severe consequences if they contracted the virus were more likely to view immunity certificates as positive. Those who felt safer if vaccinated also viewed immunity certificates as important.

Self-employed or employed individuals, as well as those who had received an increase in income after the outbreak, were more likely to perceive these certificates as compared to those who were not employed. Furthermore, employed individuals were more likely to see these certificates as less important than retired or unemployed individuals.

The authors highlight that individuals who are more vulnerable respond more positively to immunity certificates, as did individuals who had received immunity due to vaccination rather than infection. No demographic factors appeared to affect the respondents’ views.

The current study’s findings could be highly beneficial to public health policymakers by helping them identify which individuals are more likely to support the use of immunity certificates, and which individuals to appeal to in order to encourage/discourage their use.

This news article was a review of a preliminary scientific report that had not undergone peer-review at the time of publication. Since its initial publication, the scientific report has now been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in a Scientific Journal. Links to the preliminary and peer-reviewed reports are available in the Sources section at the bottom of this article. View Sources

Journal references:
  • Preliminary scientific report. Niculaescu, C. E., Sassoon, I. K., Landa-Avila, I. C., et al. (2021) Individual factors influencing public's perceptions about the importance of COVID-19 immunity certificates: a cross-sectional online questionnaire survey in the UK. medRxiv. doi:10.1101/2021.11.12.21266256. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.11.12.21266256v1
  • Peer reviewed and published scientific report. Niculaescu, Corina-Elena, Isabel Karen Sassoon, Irma Cecilia Landa-Avila, Ozlem Colak, Gyuchan Thomas Jun, and Panagiotis Balatsoukas. 2023. “Individual Factors Influencing the Public’s Perceptions about the Importance of COVID-19 Immunity Certificates in the United Kingdom: Cross-Sectional Web-Based Questionnaire Survey.” JMIR Formative Research 7 (1): e37139. https://doi.org/10.2196/37139https://formative.jmir.org/2023/1/e37139.

Article Revisions

  • Apr 29 2023 - The preprint preliminary research paper that this article was based upon was accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed Scientific Journal. This article was edited accordingly to include a link to the final peer-reviewed paper, now shown in the sources section.
Sam Hancock

Written by

Sam Hancock

Sam completed his MSci in Genetics at the University of Nottingham in 2019, fuelled initially by an interest in genetic ageing. As part of his degree, he also investigated the role of rnh genes in originless replication in archaea.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Hancock, Sam. (2023, April 29). What is the public perception surrounding COVID immunity certificates?. News-Medical. Retrieved on May 21, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20211118/What-is-the-public-perception-surrounding-COVID-immunity-certificates.aspx.

  • MLA

    Hancock, Sam. "What is the public perception surrounding COVID immunity certificates?". News-Medical. 21 May 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20211118/What-is-the-public-perception-surrounding-COVID-immunity-certificates.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Hancock, Sam. "What is the public perception surrounding COVID immunity certificates?". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20211118/What-is-the-public-perception-surrounding-COVID-immunity-certificates.aspx. (accessed May 21, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Hancock, Sam. 2023. What is the public perception surrounding COVID immunity certificates?. News-Medical, viewed 21 May 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20211118/What-is-the-public-perception-surrounding-COVID-immunity-certificates.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Pre-vaccine COVID-19: US study reveals hospitalization rate of 5.7% and fatality rate of 1.7%