Poll: Large majority supports mandatory vaccination for public events in B.C.
A new Insights West poll conducted late last week shows a large majority of British Columbians surveyed want people to have to show proof of vaccination to access crowded public indoor venues.
Eighty-one per cent want attendees at live concerts to prove they’re vaccinated before being allowed in. Seventy-nine per cent say the same about indoor sports events.
The numbers are slightly lower for gyms, movie theatres and restaurants.
“The other thing this poll uncovered is 38 per cent of those who are currently not fully vaccinated say that this is giving them pause for thought, and they are now considering taking them vaccine,” said Insights West president Steve Mossop.
Dr. Navdeep Grewal, the co-founder of the “This is Our Shot” campaign, would like to see vaccine passports for crowded indoor venues, suggesting it’s an effective carrot-and-stick approach to vaccination.
“So the carrot would be rewarding people for getting vaccinated, and this is the reward. You get to go to these concerts and these sports events if you are vaccinated. At that same time, you can call it the stick as well. If you’re not vaccinated, then we’re going to say you’re not allowed in here,” said Grewal.
Paul Runnals, who runs event company Brand Live Group, agrees.
“If they want to live life and want to travel and they want to go to shows and concerts and hockey games, this is part of our reality for the next foreseeable future,” said Runnals.
He believes some smaller music and entertainment venues are waiting to see if the Vancouver Canucks mandate vaccinations for fans this season, before making a decision for their own guests.
“Certainly when the big guys jump in and lead the way, it makes it easier for the smaller operators to say, 'You know what? That’s what we need to do as well, '” said Runnals, who believes if Canucks fans will need to show proof of vaccination, then concert attendees at Rogers Arena will too.
One of Brand Live Group’s clients isn’t waiting to see what the Canucks do. It’s holding a private 4,000-person event where all staff and attendees must show proof of vaccination. Runnals believes it will be just the beginning,
“If these measures are prudent health measures in order to facilitate these gatherings and be able to let people go out and gave a good time with their friends and get back into living life, then absolutely I hope that we see a huge uptake in that,” he said.
But before venues can realistically require proof of vaccination, B.C. needs to provide a scannable digital vaccine passport.
“To be able to get this vaccine passport sort of thing they’ve been talking about, whether its a barcode or QR code or whatever, where you can quickly scan it and know its already been verified within a government secured network, that would be a huge benefit,” said Runnals.
When that’s available, and major venues begin requiring vaccination, he expects it will become the norm. If the unvaccinated feel excluded from concerts and events, Runnals said, “They choose to exclude themselves by virtue of the decisions they’re are making about not getting the vaccine.”
Insights West surveyed 1,155 residents of B.C. online between Aug. 11 and 13. The results of its poll have a margin of error within 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.