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The French Covid-19 contact tracing app: usage and opinions by students in the health domain

By Ilaria Montagni, Nicolas Roussel, Rodolphe Thiebaut, Christophe Tzourio

Posted 27 Oct 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.23.20218214

BackgroundMany countries around the world have developed mobile phone apps capable of supporting instantaneous contact tracing to control the Covid-19 pandemic. In France, a few people have downloaded and are using the StopCovid contact tracing app. Reasons for this low uptake are unexplored. Students in the health domain are especially concerned and their usage and opinions about the app can inform improvements and diffusion of StopCovid among young people. ObjectiveTo investigate health-related students usage and opinions about the StopCovid app. MethodsA field survey was conducted among 318 students at the health sciences campus of the University of Bordeaux, France. Quota sampling method was used and descriptive statistics were performed. ResultsA total of 77.3% (246/318) students had heard about the app, but only 11.3% (36/318) had downloaded it and 4.7% (15/318) were still using it. Main reasons for not using the app were: belief that it was not effective given its limited diffusion (17.6%, 37/210), lack of interest (17.6%, 37/210) and distrust in data security and fear to be geo-located (15.7%, 33/210). Among those who had not heard about the app, after a brief description of its functioning and confidentiality policy, 52.7% (38/72) would use it. Participants reported that the main solution for increasing the use of the app would be a better communication strategy (71.4%, 227/318). ConclusionFindings suggest that University-based communication interventions are needed to increase knowledge and uptake of the StopCovid app among students.

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