Research into preferences of the Dutch about the order of vaccination and the corona passport

Scientists from TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam have conducted a study into the preferences of the Dutch for different variants of the corona passport and the order of vaccination in the group of healthy Dutch people between the ages of 18 and 60. They examined these preferences among more than 4,000 Dutch people. 1500 Dutch people came from an internet panel that provides a representative picture of the Dutch population in terms of age, gender and education level. The consultation is also open to the entire Dutch population. 2600 Dutch people took part in this open consultation.

Understanding preferences is important

From May, healthy Dutch people between 18 and 60 years old without a medical indication will be vaccinated. This concerns a group of 7.1 million Dutch people. The preferences of the Dutch for the various choices that the government can make regarding the order of vaccination within this group have not yet been mapped out. It is also still unclear what preferences the Dutch have with regard to the corona passport. To make well-informed decisions, it is important for policymakers to know what is going on in society. This research enables the government to take citizens' preferences into account in their policy.

Order of vaccination

According to the most recent vaccination schedule, the Cabinet has chosen that the group of healthy Dutch people between the ages of 18 and 60 will be vaccinated from old to young. This means that the group aged 50 to 60 will be the first to receive a call from mid-May and the group aged 18 to 29 will receive a call last from the end of June. There are regular calls in the media to give priority to vaccination for certain groups, such as teachers and police officers or young people. We asked Dutch people to rank and rate five possible strategies for the sequencing of vaccination among healthy Dutch people between 18 and 60 years old, based on their preference: 1) from old to young, the current Cabinet strategy; 2): vaccinate from young to old. The Cabinet's strategy, but in reverse order; 3) people who work in critical occupations first, such as education or childcare, law enforcement, emergency services and public transport; 4) people who work in contact medical professions first, such as physiotherapists, dentists and midwives; and 5) people with an informal care statement first.

Results

In both the representative group and the open participation, we see that participants' preferences for the order of vaccination differ from the government's intention to vaccinate from old to young. About half of the participants find that giving priority to people working in medical contact professions is the most attractive strategy, while 1 in 4 participants prefer to start with people who work in crucial professions. The Cabinet's preferred strategy of “vaccinating from old to young” came third in the list. The strategy of “vaccinating from young to old” can count on the least support. When the government introduces a corona passport, respondents become slightly more positive about the strategy of “vaccinating from young to old”. In the open consultation in particular, support for this strategy is growing due to the introduction of a passport and it is no longer the least attractive strategy.

It is striking that different subgroups (different age classes, men/women, education levels) think about the same about the desirability of the five strategies for vaccination sequence among healthy Dutch people between the ages of 18 and 60.

Participants cite various arguments to support their preference for giving priority to medical contact professions and crucial professions. We see that, according to the Dutch, these professions should be given priority because they have an increased chance of becoming infected, while absenteeism due to illness must be prevented in these professions in order to keep society going. Also, participants indicate that people working in these professions are potential super spreaders, because they meet a large number of people per day. If the vaccine can also prevent infection, then according to participants, it is completely wise to give these professional groups the vaccine first to quell the pandemic. Finally, participants indicated that people who work in care and in crucial professions have done society a service in the past year and that they should therefore be given vaccination priority as a reward.

 

 

 

Corona passport

In addition, we asked the participants in the study whether they would agree with the introduction of a national corona passport that gives extra freedoms to people when they have received the COVID-19 vaccine, can show a recent negative corona test or have been demonstrably already infected. . Participants in the study were able to indicate by means of a choice experiment which extra freedoms people with a national corona passport should be given. The options presented to respondents were freedoms for corona passport holders with regard to meeting in groups (inside and outside), visiting entertainment venues (e.g. cafes, restaurants, museums, cinemas and major events) and visiting sports venues. Participants could also advise the government not to introduce the national corona passport at all.

Results

In the research we see that if a national corona passport is to be introduced, the Dutch would prefer this only from 1 June. Proponents and opponents of a corona passport think the same about the prioritization of freedoms for people with a passport. They consider 'the corona passport gives access to the catering industry' the most important, followed by 'shopping without an appointment' and 'coming together in larger groups'. There are differing views on the desirability of a corona passport. The Dutch can roughly be divided into 4 groups.

  • Group 1 (34%): is strongly against the introduction of a national corona passport. Whatever freedoms a passport offers, these people are against it. This group mainly consists of Dutch people between the ages of 40 and 60 and Dutch people who do not want to be vaccinated.
  • Group 2 (26%): is very positive about a passport. These are mainly people over 60. They want the passport to take effect as soon as possible (preferably as of May 1 – if this group has been vaccinated themselves) and that it gives extra freedoms especially for visiting the catering industry, shopping without an appointment and meeting more people.
  • Group 3 (14%): is moderately positive about a national corona passport. Men are overrepresented in this group. The group especially appreciates the extra freedom that a passport gives for practicing indoor sports, visiting the catering industry and meeting more people. 
  • Group 4 (26%): is in principle negative about a national corona passport, but this group may be persuaded if this ensures that catering and shops are quickly accessible again for corona passport owners, as well as meeting more people. This group mainly consists of women, people under the age of 60 and people who are willing to be vaccinated.

The opponents of the introduction of a national corona passport consider a passport to regain more freedoms to be a disproportionate measure. A group of participants experiences a corona passport as a form of discrimination that leads to a dichotomy in society between people who do and do not have a passport. There are also participants who experience the corona passport as a devious way of the government to force the Dutch to take the vaccine. Most proponents see the corona passport as a means of returning to a normal life as quickly as possible. They are looking forward to being able to celebrate birthdays and holidays with friends and family and to be able to go to the catering industry with a group again. Several participants indicate that the hospitality industry is the most important sector to visit with a passport, because this in turn generates income for the hospitality industry and can ensure that companies do not go bankrupt.

Other results

  • The willingness to vaccinate among participants from the representative internet panel who had not yet received an invitation to be vaccinated at the time of participation in the study is 75%. Participants in the open consultation have a higher vaccination readiness (81%).
  • The willingness to vaccinate among younger participants is lower than that among older participants.
  • More than half of the participants in the survey think that introducing a corona passport leads to division in society. Only 2% of the respondents from the internet panel who agree with the introduction of the national corona passport completely agree with the statement that the introduction of a corona passport leads to division in society. Among respondents who completely disagree with the introduction of a national corona passport, this is 84%.
  • More than 40% believe that introducing a national corona passport forces people to be vaccinated.
  • About half of the participants think it is sensible if the European Union decides that only people who have received the vaccine may go on holiday abroad.

 

 

 

Why open up to all Dutch people?

The usefulness of research into preferences of the Dutch about government policy is optimal if two core values are safeguarded. The first is 'representativeness'. The participants in the research must be a good reflection of the Dutch population. We achieve this by using a representative sample. Second, it is 'inclusiveness'. All Dutch people who want to pass on their preferences to the government should be given the opportunity to participate in the survey. We guarantee this by opening the survey to all Dutch people over the age of 18. We report to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport about the preferences of both groups and the Ministry can use both as puzzle pieces for making policy about the corona passport and the order of vaccination.

Who is the client of this research?

The data collection for this project is funded by the TU Delft Covid-19 response fund. The researchers designed and conducted the study themselves. They receive no further funding for this research. It has been agreed with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport that the researchers will share the results with the Ministry and this has also been communicated to the participants of the study.

Contact: Niek Mouter, TU Delft

Science communication advisor TU Delft, Carola Poleij, c.poleij@tudelft.nl; 06-41611510

 

FAQs

1) Why is it important to do this research?

From May, healthy Dutch people between 18 and 60 years old without a medical indication will be vaccinated. This concerns a group of 7.1 million Dutch people. The preferences of the Dutch for the various choices that the government can make regarding the order of vaccination within this group have not yet been mapped out. It is also still unclear what preferences the Dutch have with regard to the corona passport. To make well-informed decisions, it is important for policymakers to know what is going on in society. This research enables the government to take citizens' preferences into account in their policy.

2) What will happen to the results of the research?

The results of the survey will be submitted to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Anyone who wishes to do so can also express their preferences in this survey up to and including April 12. Both the results of the representative sample and the results of the Dutch who took part on their own initiative are included in the final report. The government is not bound by the results of the investigation. The research was not carried out on behalf of the government and is financed from the TU Delft COVID-19 Response Fund. Policymakers have to make choices with far-reaching consequences based on a large amount of information and in great uncertainty. The results of our research are a piece of the puzzle in this immense puzzle.

3) Can you also disagree with the introduction of a corona passport?

Yes, of course. For each question, participants could indicate that they would not recommend a corona passport.

4) How were the survey participants selected?

A random sample was drawn from the Dynata panel with the aim of making this sample representative for Dutch people aged 18 and older on the characteristics of gender, age and education level.

 

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Header photo by Lukas on Unsplash

 

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