Blog post

Covid Vaccine needs Blockchain Transparency; U.K. Sees the Light

By Avivah Litan | January 26, 2021 | 0 Comments

Most countries are in the dark when it comes to Covid 19 vaccine tracking.  In the U.S., new CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told told Fox News last Sunday  “I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have, and if I can’t tell it to you then I can’t tell it to the governors and I can’t tell it to the state health officials.” See cnbc.com

Figure 1: Art of the Possible: Vaccine Pharma to Patient Arm; IoT, AI, Blockchain Integration

If ever there were a business case for coldchain tracking – this is it.  The U.K. National Health Service already figured this out. NHS uses a service from  Everyware and Hedera  to manage vaccine supply chains – from pharmaceuticals to patient arms – at Stratford Upon Avon and Warkwick hospitals.  They plan to expand the program.  See marketwatch.com

Blockchain DLT uniquely provides a transparent shared system of record across all supply chain participants that is based on immutable data.  IoT sensors monitor the temperature of the vaccine supply throughout its journey. Key IoT events, e.g. when the vaccine supply arrives at the pharmaceutical, are written to the blockchain ledger.

Smart contracts alert supply chain participants when vaccine storage temperature starts to fall below an acceptable threshold so that the supply can be salvaged and quickly moved to proper cold storage.  AI analytics used on top of trustworthy blockchain data can support efficient distribution, help avoid logistics bottlenecks and predict adverse side effects in various individuals. (See Gartner’s Svetlana Sicular blog How AI can Help with Vaccination)

Because the immutable blockchain data are independently verifiable by every network participant (node), there are no disputes on the state and location of the vaccine and no need to reconcile a tangled web of individual siloed systems. The state of vaccine supplies become transparent, supporting informed and effective decision making.

Figure 1 above shows the business benefits of an integrated Blockchain, IoT, and AI platform. Figure 2 below shows how blockchain and IoT platforms can be technically stitched together. My colleague Benoit Lheureux and I first wrote about this in 2019 Integrating Blockchain With IoT Strengthens Trust in Multiparty Processes

Figure 2: IoT and Blockchain Conceptual Integration Architecture

Bottomline

Several tech companies that specialize in blockchain and/or AI, such as IBM (see IBM Newsroom), Hadera, and Macro-Eyes, are willing and able to bring Covid-19 vaccine distribution and analytics into the new age. Technology Innovation is not our problem.

We just need governments and supply chain participants to set up the ecosystem and their business agreements – always the most difficult part but well worth the effort.

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