Vaccines are increasingly being seen as the key to a sustained recovery for UK businesses.
New research has revealed that 92% of owners of independent public-facing companies across the retail, hospitality and travel sectors believe that vaccinating British consumers is the “golden ticket” to a post-pandemic recovery, and are reportedly considering inviting back the customers who can prove their vaccination status “as soon as possible” as firms battle to save their businesses.
The research was conducted across 500 businesses owners between 19-21 December 2020 by myGP – the UK’s largest independent GP booking and healthcare management app – which has reported being “inundated with enquiries from small business owners” after announcing its plans to provide English customers with a “simple, clear means of communicating their verified vaccination status, via their smartphone”.
Currently planned for release next month, myGP has developed a “TICKet” to allow businesses whose “viability depends upon operating at capacity” – such as the retail, leisure, the arts and hospitality sectors, which have widely struggled to operate during the pandemic – the ability to open either full or part-time to vaccinated individuals, without the need to observe social distancing rules.
In addition, myGP has stated that its “TICKet” technology will help to “reduce the administrative burden” on GPs, who will likely be “busy with requests for verification of vaccination status as people begin to return to everyday life around the country”.
Since the start of the pandemic, myGP has regularly undertaken patient research to “gauge feelings and intentions regarding their health, access to primary care, and their intentions regarding the Covid-19 vaccine”.
In December last year, myGP asked 2,000 adults if they intended to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, of which 31% said no. However, out of this group, 23% said they “could be swayed” to have the vaccine if it meant they could “attend live events and other activities” without strict social distancing measures in place.
While the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive continues, it is still expected to take some time for life to return to any semblance of normality, and businesses are increasingly eager to adopt so-called “vaccine passports” which would allow inoculated customers and staff to bypass the current lockdown restrictions on the premise of reduced risk of infection.
Despite last month’s comments by Michael Gove that there are currently “no plans” to introduce vaccine passports for places such as pubs and restaurants, interest in implementing similar schemes is rapidly growing. Last week, Denmark announced it is in the process of developing a digital vaccine passport to enable safer and more efficient travel, with the Health Ministry stating “it is expected that there may be requirements from other countries to present vaccine documentation upon entry”.