COVID symptom tracker FAQs
Many people are recording symptoms of COVID-19 using specially designed symptom tracker apps. These are helping to slow the outbreak, by recording which symptoms are most common, and identifying high risk areas in the UK. We have teamed up with the organisations running the COVID-19 symptom tracker, designed by Kings College London, to allow the results from the symptoms tracker app to be combined with the information held by MRC NSHD.
You can download the app to your mobile devices from the COVID symptom tracker website – use the Apple Store or Google Play icons.
No, you are encouraged to use the app even if you are well.
The data will help scientists to identify who is most at risk, by better understanding how symptoms are linked to underlying health conditions, and will show how fast the virus is spreading in your area.
The linked data will greatly enrich the information available to researchers for understanding the lifetime risk factors for COVID-19 and its symptoms. In the future it will enable the long-term health and other outcomes of those experiencing COVID-19 and its symptoms to be understood.
To register on the app you will need to provide your email address, year of birth, and the first part of your postcode. Optionally you can also provide your name, sex, and your full postcode, which you are encouraged to do to help us to link your survey data to your symptom tracker information. The app also asks you to optionally provide your telephone number.
You will be asked for some information about your current health and to record your symptoms every day. If you have already been recording your symptoms using this app, the symptoms you have already recorded can also be linked.
No, it is completely up to you whether you choose to use the COVID symptom tracker and you can still take part in the survey without installing the app.
The information from the COVID tracker app is held in anonymised form by the SAIL Databank, at the University of Swansea. The personally identifying information from the COVID tracker app is held separately by SAIL’s Trusted Third Party, the NHS Wales Information Centre (NWIS).
In order to link your survey data, we will transfer your first name, surname, year of birth, sex, postcode, email address, and a unique study ID to NWIS using their secure file upload website.
NWIS will de-identify and encrypt the personal data we send them and assign an Anonymous Linking Field (ALF). NWIS will send the ALF to SAIL, who will then use the ALF together with the unique study id to link your information from the COVID symptoms tracker app into your study information.
The de-identified linked data will be transferred back to the study team at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL, who run the MRC NSHD. The data will be made available through the normal data sharing processes and/or the SAIL databank.
When you complete the survey you can specify that you do not want us to link your COVID symptom tracker data to your survey data.
Yes, you can opt out at any time – you can call us on 0800 952 0249 or email us at email@example.com.