First series of focus groups concluded.

Focus groups brought together members of the public, service provides and experts to discuss the use of COVID-19 immunity passports/certificates in the UK for travel, work and event organisation.

The findings will help us co-design, with people, services for immunity passports, for people, without compromising public health but at the same time, protecting our human rights and civil liberties. User-Centred Design in practice!

In May, twenty-two participants from the cultural, sports, tourism and events organisation industries, in conjunction with patient groups, members of the public and experts in bioethics and healthcare, attended our focus groups to discuss the use of immunity passports.

The following key questions were explored:

  • What should be the purpose of immunity passports/certificates?
  • What could be the key risks and unintended consequences of immunity passports / certificates?

Focus groups took place online and combined discussions and brainstorming through a set of participatory group activities using digital collaboration tools. 

Some key issues were identified that should be taken into account when designing services for immunity passports:

  • What is immunity? There are too many questions among service providers and the public around the concept of immunity itself, ranging from how long it lasts after vaccination to how effective are the existing vaccines against the new variants? These questions need to be clearly communicated when designing services for immunity passports. Information around these uncertainties should be accessible and easy to understand to maximise the benefits of using immunity passports and help control the spread of the virus when we travel, work, or attend events with many people in closed spaces.
  • Globally or locally? The use of immunity passports for travelling abroad seems to be more pertinent; on the contrary, their use locally or for daily life activities (like going to a gallery) is challenging and puts unavoidable conflicts of interest among service providers and service users. Therefore, applying systems thinking approaches should be an integral part of the design of services for immunity passports.
  • One size fits all is not the way to design immunity passports. There are generalised concerns about the inequalities that the implementation of immunity passports could reinforce (e.g. older adults, people with certain disabilities and/or long-term conditions, even people who might not be able to receive a vaccine for medical reasons, their needs need to be carefully taken into account when designing services of immunity passports). Similarly, immunity passports should fit in the business models and service workflows of different service providers with diverse needs. 
  • Passport or Certificate? The term passport is not well accepted and creates confusion about the intended purpose. In general, there needs to be a clear conceptual definition of immunity passports and how these differ from vaccine certificates.

The report of the findings from the focus groups is expected to become available in this website by July 2021. Follow us on Twitter and Linkedin to stay tuned with our research and be the first to access our research outputs.

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