With breakthroughs in the race to find an effective COVID-19 vaccine making headlines, over half of consumers say the availability of a vaccine is key to their traveling again. According to a recent survey from travel insurance provider Allianz Partners, 58 percent of travelers said that a proven vaccine would make them feel safe to travel again.
That’s a 6 percent increase over a similar Allianz survey taken in the spring. Nearly half of the respondents (48 percent) said announcements from health officials that travel is safe would make them feel more confident to travel.
But a lower percentage (47 percent, a drop of 5 points from spring) said assurances about sanitization efforts at hotels, airports and other places along the journey – previously rated travelers’ top safety measure – was less important.
The survey found that a growing percentage of respondents (70 percent, up 5 points over the spring survey) plan to return to flying for their next trip, while driving is the preferred option for fewer travelers (19 percent, down 9 percent from spring).
The poll of 3,500 of US travel insurance customers was actually taken before the news broke in early November that a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech showed better than 90 percent effectiveness in late-stage clinical trials.
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine has been approved for widespread distribution in the UK, and is currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration and regulators in the EU, although shipments of the vaccine are already being stockpiled in the US for rapid distribution upon approval.
Since the Pfizer-BioNTech news, results of large scale trials have been released on two other vaccine candidates.
Biotechnology company Moderna has applied to the FDA for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine which was found to be 94.5 percent effective in its trials. And a collaboration between drug maker Astrazeneca and Oxford University has produced a vaccine with up to 90 percent efficacy, depending on dosage.
In all, over a dozen vaccine candidates are in late-stage large scale clinical trials worldwide and seven have been approved for limited use in different countries, according to the New York Times.
“The promise of a highly-effective COVID-19 vaccine could be a substantial step toward recovery for the travel industry, and as our survey found, a key factor in customers feeling more confident booking trips for 2021,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz Partners USA.