Canadians’ opinions towards COVID-19 data-sharing: a national cross-sectional survey
Savic Kallesoe SA., Rabbani T., Gill EE., Brinkman F., Griffiths EJ., Zawati M., Liu H., Palmour N., Joly Y., Hsiao WWL.
ObjectivesCOVID-19 research has significantly contributed to pandemic response and the enhancement of public health capacity. COVID-19 data collected by provincial/territorial health authorities in Canada are valuable for research advancement yet not readily available to the public, including researchers. To inform developments in public health data-sharing in Canada, we explored Canadians’ opinions of public health authorities sharing deidentified individual-level COVID-19 data publicly.Design/setting/interventions/outcomesA national cross-sectional survey was administered in Canada in March 2022, assessing Canadians’ opinions on publicly sharing COVID-19 datatypes. Market research firm Léger was employed for recruitment and data collection.ParticipantsAnyone greater than or equal to 18 years and currently living in Canada.Results4981 participants completed the survey with a 92.3% response rate. 79.7% were supportive of provincial/territorial authorities publicly sharing deidentified COVID-19 data, while 20.3% were hesitant/averse/unsure. Datatypes most supported for being shared publicly were symptoms (83.0% in support), geographical region (82.6%) and COVID-19 vaccination status (81.7%). Datatypes with the most aversion were employment sector (27.4% averse), postal area (26.7%) and international travel history (19.7%). Generally supportive Canadians were characterised as being ≥50 years, with higher education, and being vaccinated against COVID-19 at least once. Vaccination status was the most influential predictor of data-sharing opinion, with respondents who were ever vaccinated being 4.20 times more likely (95% CI 3.21 to 5.48, p=0.000) to be generally supportive of data-sharing than those unvaccinated.ConclusionsThese findings suggest that the Canadian public is generally favourable to deidentified data-sharing. Identifying factors that are likely to improve attitudes towards data-sharing are useful to stakeholders involved in data-sharing initiatives, such as public health agencies, in informing the development of public health communication and data-sharing policies. As Canada progresses through the COVID-19 pandemic, and with limited testing and reporting of COVID-19 data, it is essential to improve deidentified data-sharing given the public’s general support for these efforts.