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U.K. hospitals use blockchain technology to track and monitor COVID-19 vaccines

Blockchain technology is now being used in the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.K.

Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine / Image by: Wikimedia Commons

Thu, 21 Jan 2021, 12:32 pm UTC

Most investors know blockchain as the technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH). But the new technology is now also being deployed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

After more than a year of research, a number of companies have already developed COVID-19 vaccines. Now, the frontliners are facing the monumental task of inoculating millions of people against the virus.

One of the challenges in the inoculation process is that some vaccines would lose their efficacy if they are not kept at low temperatures. With millions of vaccines being shipped worldwide, tracking the shipments and ensuring that they are kept at optimal temperatures could quickly become a huge logistical headache.

That is where blockchain comes in. Two hospitals in the U.K. are now employing the technology to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine’s rollout is as problem-free as possible.

The hospitals located in Warwick in central England and in Stratford-upon-Avon, are coordinating with blockchain firm Hedera Hashgraph and Everyware to ensure the potency of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to MarketWatch.

Blockchain’s tamper-proof decentralized is used to record encrypted transactions of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Similarly, hospitals can use the technology to track sensitive medical equipment and record variables such as temperature to ensure they meet the storage requirements of certain medications.

Hedera Hashgraph will provide the blockchain network for the hospitals’ vaccine tracking system. Meanwhile, Everyware will provide the hardware and equipment monitor needed. Since the distributed ledger allows data sharing between users, tracking and monitoring the shipments becomes a lot easier while eliminating potential problems that might result from human error.

“Monitoring the ongoing temperature of these refrigeration units is critically important, and ensuring the integrity of that data is an equally important part of maintaining trust in the results, and being able to easily share them across the entire vaccine supply chain,” Tom Screen, technical director at Everyware, said.

The system’s accuracy is further strengthened with the user of blockchain technology provided by Hedera. “Hedera’s distributed ledger technology provides that tamper-proof record-keeping system, making it perfect for recording and validating results efficiently and cost-effectively,” he added.

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