More than half of Germans would like to see a coronavirus vaccine passport handed out so they can go to theaters, gyms, sporting events or even facilitate travel, a poll revealed on Saturday.
The survey carried by research firm YouGov on behalf of news agency DPA found that 60% of Germans are in favor of either an immediate introduction of a "green passport" or one distributed once everyone has been offered the jab that helps prevent COVID-19.
Although 35% of German residents are against the notion altogether, 16% are in favor of introducing a "green passport" immediately, following the example of Israel, while a further 44% think it should wait until everyone in Germany has been offered a vaccination.
According to current plans, all Germans should be given the opportunity to receive the vaccine by September 21 this year.
Merkel on board
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested she is open to granting benefits to vaccinated people, but not before citizens have had the opportunity to be inoculated.
"When we have made a vaccination offer to enough people and some of them refuse to be vaccinated, we will have to consider whether there should be openings and access only for vaccinated people in certain areas," Merkel said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published on Thursday.
Critics consider such an approach to be forcing people to take the vaccine against their will.
YouGov Deutschland interviewed 2,030 people, aged 18 and over, between February 24 and February 26.
Israel hands out 'green passport'
Israel introduced its "green passport" last Sunday, granting numerous benefits to those vaccinated against, or who have recovered from, the virus that has infected well over 110 million people worldwide. Restrictions were also eased for the non-vaccinated, but they were given back fewer freedoms.
The heads of state and government of the European Union, meanwhile, agreed on Thursday that a vaccination passport should be developed within the next three months. However, it is still unclear what benefits the certification will entail.
Greece and Spain keen
Tourist-reliant southern European nations such as Greece and Spain urged the rapid adoption of an EU-wide vaccination certificate for travelers while Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also backed the idea.
Manfred Weber, the head of the conservative bloc in the European Parliament, has called for a speedy rollout of the immunity pass, in order to allow freedom of movement in the EU.
"[A] vaccination passport is crucial and is immediately necessary," Weber told DW. "We have to speed up because currently [only tens of thousands] of Europeans are vaccinated every day."