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10 Dec 2021

Survey shows that just over half of adults support compulsory workplace Covid-19 vaccination and vaccine passport, but support differs significantly by vaccination status

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Today the Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg (UJ) in collaboration with the Developmental, Ethical and Capable State research division of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) have released a research briefing on the public’s support for compulsory workplace Covid-19 vaccination and having to providing proof of vaccination to enter public places – so-called ‘vaccine passports’. 

Key findings include;

•54% of South African adults support employers making Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory and 51% support vaccine passports.

•However, levels of support for these policies differ considerably by vaccination status and willingness to vaccinate. Among the fully vaccinated support for compulsory workplace vaccination and vaccine passports is 75% and 78%, respectively. However, among those that are unvaccinated and do not want to be vaccinated support falls to under 10% for both measures.

•Support for compulsory workplace vaccination is highest amongst Indian adults (65%) followed by Black African Adults (56%), Coloured adults (49%) and lowest among White adults (32%). 

•Similarly, support for vaccine passports is lower among White adults, 32% compared to 54% for Black African adults, 51% of Indian adults, and 46% among Coloured adults.  

•Higher levels of education seem to be associated with greater opposition to compulsory workplace vaccination and vaccine passports. 61% of those with less than matric support compulsory workplace vaccination compared to 39% of those with post-matric education. 60% of those with less than matric support providing proof of vaccination to enter public places compared to 40% of those with post-matric education. 

•There were negligible differences by gender and small differences by age.

•Adults aged 18-24 years had slightly higher support for compulsory workplaces vaccination compared to older age groups. 57% compared to 52% for those aged 55 and above. However, they were slightly less supportive of vaccine passports, 51% compared to 55% for those aged 55 and above. 

•The survey also gauged relative levels of support for vaccine passports to enter six particular types of public places. Close to half (47%) supported vaccine passports being introduced for sporting events at stadiums. Similar shares (43-45%) supported vaccine passports at schools and universities, and at restaurants, shisa nyamas, coffee shops or night clubs. Slightly lower support was evident for such measures at municipal offices (38%) and places of worship (40%). Vaccination status and level of vaccine hesitancy again matters appreciably for levels of support.

These latest findings come from round 5 of the UJ/HSRC Covid-19 democracy survey, which collected data between 22 October and 17 November 2021.The survey was fully completed by 6,633 participants. All of the data was weighted to match Statistics South Africa data on race, education and age. In addition, in Round 5 we incorporated a further adjustment for vaccination rate by gender to match data provided by the Department of Health for the midpoint of the survey period. These findings can be regarded as broadly indicative of the views of the adult population at large.

For more information on the public’s views on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination and vaccine passports please download the document below

Prof. Carin Runciman, Director, Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg

073 953 4396/ crunciman@uj.ac.za 

Prof. Narnia Bohler-Muller. Divisional Executive: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State division, HSRC

066 085 0459/NBohlerMuller@hsrc.ac.za 

Dr Ben Roberts, Coordinator: Acting Strategic Lead and Research Director: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State division, HSRC

084 523 0374/ BRoberts@hsrc.ac.za

Mr Ngqapheli Mchunu, PhD research trainee: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State division, HSRC.

084 047 3669/ NMchunu@hsrc.ac.za   

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