We evaluate the impact of government-mandated proof of vaccination requirements for access to public venues and non-essential businesses on COVID-19 vaccine uptake. We find that the announcement of a mandate is associated with a rapid and significant surge in new vaccinations (more than 60% increase in weekly first doses), using the variation in the timing of these measures across Canadian provinces in a difference-in-differences approach. Time-series analysis for each province and for France, Italy and Germany corroborates this finding. Counterfactual simulations using our estimates suggest the following cumulative gains in the vaccination rate among the eligible population (age 12 and over) as of October 31, 2021: up to 5 percentage points (p.p.) (90% CI 3.9–5.8) for Canadian provinces, adding up to 979,000 (425,000-1,266,000) first doses in total for Canada (5 to 13 weeks after the provincial mandate announcements), 8 p.p. (4.3–11) for France (16 weeks post-announcement), 12 p.p. (5–15) for Italy (14 weeks post-announcement) and 4.7 p.p. (4.1–5.1) for Germany (11 weeks post-announcement).
JEL codes: I18, I12, C23