Lancet Digital Health
Apr 2021 Volume 3 Number 4 e204-e273
Can technology increase COVID-19 vaccination rates?
The Lancet Digital Health
… To manage the wealth of data from adverse events tracking, the MHRA have awarded £1·5 million to develop AI that can identify genuine COVID-19 vaccine adverse effects. While experts have applauded the MHRA’s forward thinking approach, development of AI based on limited self-reported public data and electronic health records that are subject to historic and systemic bias must be validated on data from minority and other at risk populations to maintain trust within these communities.
To combat bias in datasets and algorithms, transparent auditing of clinical AI tools is essential to accurately communicate results to the public for greater vaccine uptake. As the UK and the USA pass the milestones of 20 million and 100 million people (respectively) vaccinated against COVID-19, associated data must be made transparent and accessible. Datasets such as the England and Wales COVID-19 vaccination datasets, which are available upon request to researchers, are critical to communicate real-world effectiveness of the vaccine to the public.
President Biden has recently pledged over $500 million in additional funds to address vaccine uptake in the USA. This funding must be spent on establishing transparent COVID-19 vaccine data to aid informed public decisions. Technology can help monitor progress of vaccine programmes, but it will not be enough to establish trust among the public, especially among those most at risk.