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Virtual event Health data and COVID-19 tech

Pandemic preparedness and public health in the algorithmic age

Lessons from the App Store: Insights and learnings from COVID-19 technologies

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Date and time
12:00pm – 1:00pm, 13 June 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic was the first global public health crisis of ‘the algorithmic age’. New data-driven technologies, such as digital vaccine certificates and contact tracing apps, were rapidly developed and deployed in response.

These technologies offered promising public health benefits during a time of emergency, however they also provoked public concerns around privacy, surveillance and equity.

While the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern, learnings from the deployment of digital vaccine passports and contact tracing apps remain highly relevant for governments, policymakers and public health authorities.


  • Andrew Strait

    Associate Director (Emerging technology & industry practice)
  • Dr Arun Jose

    Head, BRIDGE Centre for Digital Health, Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Public Health Foundation of India
  • Lindsay Muscato

    Journalist, editor and writer
  • Dr Oskar Gstrein

    Director, BSc Data Science and Society, University of Groningen
  • Nelly Wakaba

    Board Member, Health Data Acumen

Our forthcoming report – Lessons from the App Store: Insights and learnings from COVID-19 technologies – synthesises the available evidence from a cross-section of 34 countries to explore their effectiveness, public legitimacy, impact on inequalities and governance. Evidence was gathered from a wide range of sources across different disciplines, including academic and grey literature, policy papers, workshops with experts and media news.

The report should guide governments, policymakers and international organisations when deploying data-driven technologies in response to public health emergencies, and support those advocating for fundamental rights and protections, public health and societal benefit.

This event will bring together experts to discuss how the insights and lessons identified in the report can support the ethical, effective and equitable use of digital technologies in future pandemics and in public health and social provision.

It will explore the following questions:

  1. What were the risks and challenges of COVID-19 technologies? What could have been done differently to prevent these?
  2. What will be the longer-term technical, societal and regulatory implications of these technologies?
  3. What lessons, if any, should we learn from the deployment of these technologies to increase pandemic preparedness and to improve the use of technology in public health and social care provision?

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