Two British Hospitals Use Blockchain Technology To Store COVID-19 Vaccines



Jan. 28, 2021, 3:24 p.m.

Two hospitals in the U.K. are actively using blockchain technology to keep tabs on the storage and supply of COVID-19 vaccines. This was disclosed by Everyware on Tuesday.

The hospitals, based in South Warwickshire, are using technology developed by U.K. firm Everyware and U.S. organization Hedera Hashgraph. Everyware uses sensors to monitor equipment in real-time, while Hedera is a blockchain consortium backed by the likes of Google and IBM.

In an interview with CNBC, Tom Screen, technical director at Everyware, said that its sensors would monitor the temperature of refrigerators storing vaccines. It then transmits the data to its own cloud platform where it is encrypted and then passed on to Hedera’s blockchain network.

The point of this operation is to prevent the digital records of the temperature-sensitive vaccines from been changed or altered, like the ones developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

This will further assist the hospitals to pick up on any irregularities in the storage of vaccines before administering them to patients.

Pfizer’s vaccine must be stored at subzero temperatures (-70 degrees Celsius), and can only last at two-to-eight degree Celsius conditions for up to five days, creating big hurdles for the logistics in distributing it.

Other vaccines, such as Moderna Inc's, do not need such cold storage and are therefore easier to deliver.

"We can absolutely verify the data that we've collected from every single device," Everyware's Tom Screen said in an interview. "We make sure that data is accurate at source, and after that point, we can verify that it's never been changed, it's never been tampered with."

The firm again added that it is possible to monitor the vaccines without blockchain however, manual systems would only raise the risk of mistakes.

“The system will allow us to demonstrate our commitment to providing safe patient care," said Steve Clarke, electro-bio medical engineering manager at South Warwickshire NHS in a statement.

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Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.