Information

Gathering personal data as part of vaccination process: FOI Review

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002


Information requested

Your request, reference 202100269134:

1. Why is 'other British' listed rather than British or all the nationalities when being asked for my nationality details, when getting my 3rd covid booster vaccine?

2. Why differentiate between Scottish and Other British?

3. What is the purpose of gathering this data as you can see I live in Scotland from my home address, in relation to the vaccine programme? Since you are only suppose to gather data that is required for that purpose.

4. Why are only some people asked this? I have been the only person out of all my friends/family to be asked this?

5. Other than Covid programme are you using the data collected during the vaccine process for other purposes and if yes what for?

Review request, reference 
202200274774:

"My original request has unfortunately not been answered sufficiently, it just refers me to other sites rather than answering the question.

Yes you may call it ethnicity data rather than nationality, however my points still remain the same as listed in the previous email.

NHS inform website states the data is retrieved for "The purpose of the collection is to understand if public health services are delivered equitably, and assist us to reduce health inequalities in Scotland. We will take actions to improve services in response to the data collected and any analysis of the data will not have outputs that identify you". Please explain why English, Irish and Welsh are not on that list, whereas Scottish is? Surely have them all or just British and not "other British."

Response

Further to my letter of 28 February 2022, I have now completed my review of our response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for:

"My original request has unfortunately not been answered sufficiently, it just refers me to other sites rather than answering the question.

Yes you may call it ethnicity data rather than nationality, however my points still remain the same as listed in the previous email.

NHS inform website states the data is retrieved for "The purpose of the collection is to understand if public health services are delivered equitably, and assist us to reduce health inequalities in Scotland. We will take actions to improve services in response to the data collected and any analysis of the data will not have outputs that identify you". Please explain why English Irish and Welsh is not on that list, whereas Scottish is? Surely have them all or just British and not "other British."

I have concluded that the original decision should be upheld with modifications.

In regards to question 1 and 2 : The information provided in response to your original request outlines that the ethnicity question asked at the point of vaccination has been taken from Question 23 of the Census questionnaire due for release this year. The categories used are taken from the National Records of Scotland’s Census 2022 questions, which includes ‘White – Scottish’ and ‘White – Other British’. For information on how the National Records of Scotland developed these categories please visit Question development | Scotland's Census (scotlandscensus.gov.uk). There is a section about the development of the ethnic group and national identity questions which you might find helpful.

We are using the categories used within the census to ensure comparability across data collections. Using the same categories makes data analysis easier and therefore more reliable when ethnic group categories are the same across different data collections. These ethnicity categories have been in use since 2001 in Scotland so this allows us to look at changes in ethnic group of the population over time. One of the recommendations of the Expert Reference Group on COVID and Ethnicity (ERG) was to better link data to the census.

If someone wishes to record their ethnicity as a group not listed then they can do this through the write-in option under ‘Other White’. This allows someone to identify as ‘White – English’, for example.

In regards to questions 3-5: The original response provided links to information which further explains how data captured at the point of vaccinations is stored and used and why this is being collected. I note from my investigations that the responding officer provided clear instruction with the links as to how to locate the information requested. However, the original response should have made clear that this information is otherwise accessible. Therefore, I am applying the exemption at section 25(1) (information otherwise accessible) to this part of your request. We are not required to provide information that is already accessible to you.

Our response clearly states that ethnicity information will be used for statistics, research and public health planning and we began collecting this as part of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in November 2021.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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