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Can Blockchain be a Game-Changer when Surveilling COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Chain?

With pharma companies Pfizer and Moderna announcing the discovery of COVID-19 vaccines with efficacy rates of more than 90%, a beacon of hope seems to be on the horizon in curbing the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc across the globe. 

COVID-19 has spelled doom across different sectors, with travel and tourism being among the most affected. As the year nears the end, our eyes are already focusing on what 2021 has to offer, given that the pandemic has triggered devastating effects, to say the least. 

We all want to go back to our normal lives, don’t we? There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel in the realization of this objective after the United Kingdom (UK) became the first nation to greenlight Pfizer’s BioNTech Covid vaccine on Dec. 02. 

“The government has today accepted the recommendation from the Independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use. The vaccine will be made available across the U.K. from next week,” as per the CNBC announcement

This is good news, right? It is the case because the vaccine will be a stepping stone towards curbing the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, a huge challenge emerges of how the vaccine will be authenticated and stored to meet its intended purpose. 

For instance, Pfizer’s vaccine should be stored in an extremely cold environment of minus 70 Celsius degrees for it to be effective. Moreover, it shouldn’t be kept in regular refrigeration for more than five days. 

This, therefore, suggests that Pfizer’s vaccine should be stored at places colder than Antarctica, and attaining this is not easy. On the other hand, the Moderna vaccine requires a temperature of minus 20 Celsius degrees. 

What does this mean? These vaccines should be stored properly to maintain their efficacy, which could mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, blockchain technology can come in handy in ensuring that these delicate procedures are adhered to by offering solutions like immutable or tamper-proof storage. 

Addressing the Faulty Handling Challenge with Blockchain

Without a doubt the handling of COVID-19 vaccines will necessitate maximal caution based on the delicate laid out procedures. The other notable challenge is how the vaccine will be distributed to every person worldwide. 

Blockchain technology can step in and solve the faulty handling challenge through proper monitoring and verification of the vaccine storage by availing data that is attentive to detail. Precisely, once every vaccine is monitored over the blockchain, every link along the chain will survey the entire process, and health departments will be in a position to track the chain as a whole and intervene. 

By deploying blockchain technology, hospitals and clinics will better manage the COVID-19 vaccine stocks, ensure proper storage conditions, and mitigate supply and demand constraints. On the other hand, people will get an identical guarantee for the specific vaccine they receive.

These efforts will be instrumental in saving lives by streamlining the distribution of the much-needed vaccine. Furthermore, the vaccine hesitancy problem will be solved, which emerged to be one of the top 10 health challenges faced in 2019, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Streamlining Global Supply Chains

Managing supply chains is a complicated affair based on the many players involved. Blockchain is proving to be a game-changer, given that it utilizes distributed ledger technology (DLT) to offer decentralized storage. This attribute is cemented by the fact that it is being embraced by companies across distinctive fields, such as finance, education, and healthcare, among others.

So what is the catch? Blockchain’s appeal is boosted by the fact that decentralized storage ensures transparent data management, thereby enhancing accountability. 

Furthermore, blockchain gives supply chains a generic standardized protocol and immutable storage. As a result, this cutting-edge technology can solve stubborn difficulties in supply chain management like stock management complications, fighting potential counterfeits, accuracy in tracking items, and participants’ accountability. 

Presently, supply chains have been distorted due to the ravaging effects of pandemic, and blockchain can be pivotal in making them get back on their feet. The COVID-19 vaccine supply chain will also benefit from this cutting-edge technology because transparency, traceability, and efficiency will become inevitable. 

Contact tracing is one of the policies being deployed by governments to curb coronavirus. Blockchain can also eradicate some of the privacy threats triggered by this approach by availing decentralized storage, whereby information will be recorded in distinctly and sequentially linked blocks. Therefore, the data stored cannot be deleted or altered. 

Some organizations like the Red Cross are looking at antibody development as one of the ways to address coronavirus. For instance, it has been on a drive to collect plasma donations from patients who have recovered from COVID-19. Blockchain can be instrumental in making this journey transparent by authenticating the source of these antibodies. 

Thanks to blockchain technology and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in different countries, 2021 looks like it will be more kind to us as we seek to put the catastrophic effects of the pandemic behind our backs. 

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You may also want to read: Here’s How Blockchain Challenges Businesses to Get Out of the Digital Stone Age

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SuperCryptoNews is a global leading blockchain and crypto news provider, covering daily news on the latest tech and trading developments in crypto. We bring you expansive crypto news coverage especially in Asia, with a focus on Singapore, Thailand and Southeast Asia.

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