Risk Consciousness and Public Perceptions of Covid-19 Vaccine Passports

Btihaj Ajana*, Elena Engstler, Anas Ismail, Marina Kousta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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In response to the global outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, many countries around the world have rushed to develop and implement various mechanisms, including vaccination passports, to contain the spread of the virus and manage its significant impact on heath and society. COVID-19 passports have been promoted as a way of speeding society’s return to ‘normal’ life while protecting public health and safety. These passports, however, are not without controversy. Various concerns have been raised with regard to their social and ethical implications. Framing the discussion within the ‘risk society’ thesis and drawing on an interview-based study with members of the UK public as well as the relevant literature, this article examines perceptions of COVID-19 vaccine passports. The findings of the study indicate that participants’ attitudes toward vaccine passports are primarily driven by factors relating to perceptions of risk. While some considered vaccine passports as a positive strategy to encourage vaccine uptake and facilitate travel and daily activities, others saw this mechanism as a coercive step that might alienate further those who are already vaccine hesitant. Issues of fairness, equity, discrimination, trust, and data security were major themes in participants’ narratives and their subjective assessment of vaccine passports.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-258
Number of pages26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2023


  • Covid-19
  • Ulrich Beck
  • Health
  • Vaccine passports
  • Public perceptions
  • Risk


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