Immunity Passports as Complex Systems: Applying systems approaches to explore needs, risks, and unintended consequences


Cecilia Landa-Avila, Gyuchan Thomas Jun, Isabel Sassoon, Ozlem Colak, Tina Harvey, and Panagiotis Balatsoukas

Project of Loughborough University and Brunel University London

Implementing COVID-19 immunity certificates without careful consideration of user needs and human factors could put public health at risk, infringe on privacy and lead to societal inequalities. There are polarised and complex views among different stakeholders (including academic researchers, service providers and the public) about the feasibility and the ethical, safe, trusted and fair use of immunity certificates. Therefore, there is a clear need to understand the needs, unintended consequences, and risk of implementing immunity certificates before designing services around them. This understanding will prevent compromising human rights and civil liberties, and at the same time, help protect public health and return to normality. This paper presents the application of systems/service approaches as part of the IMMUNE project, a research project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). IMMUNE has investigated the design of services for immunity certificates in the UK. This research has generated recommendations meaningful to the post-pandemic systems/service design, emphasising the tensions and intertwinement of public health with everyday life.

Keywords: public health, immunity passports, synthesis map, COVID-19


RSD proceedings are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.


Author(s) (20XX). Article title. In Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) 20XX Symposium. City, Country, Month X-X, 20XX.

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