Verification of the vaccine is critical to any country’s ability to control the progress of the pandemic. A reliable, secure, and accurate verification system enables governments, businesses, schools, or other institutions to assess the safety of indoor and outdoor gatherings and provide real-time statistics on the vaccinated population. Although many countries around the world have developed their own vaccine verification systems, often developed from previous contact tracking apps, developing a reliable, safe, and accurate system remains a challenge. Part of this is due to data storage and retrieval logs. Another major obstacle is information sharing, especially considering the importance of vaccine verification systems being accepted across national and international borders.
Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to 2017, expressed his concerns about the long-term difficulties of having multiple systems to verify Covid-19 vaccinations. “Its own user interface, validation, data storage, retrieval processes and security protocols will make it difficult to check the vaccination status quickly and safely.” In order for a system to work, he advocates five essential requirements.
- Accuracy should be ensured through the use of a computerized vaccination information system, ie an online record of vaccinations received by humans.
- Adequate representations and safeguards must be taken to ensure the security and protection of the personal data of all individuals.
- Options to use other forms of identity should also be allowed in unforeseen circumstances. For example, the option of using paper vaccination cards with additional personal verification such as photo ID.
- The system should only be used to review vaccination protocols and should avoid adding information about previous tests and results to avoid data clustering.
- And must be accessible in real time, “for example when people go through airport security”.
Blockchain technology can provide a practical solution to vaccine verification challenges and help meet the requirements described by Frieden. Due to the decentralized and encrypted nature of blockchain technology, the information stored in the blockchain ledger is extremely difficult to manipulate. This fulfills a very important requirement for a vaccination verification system that ensures the security and protection of personal data.
By scanning the serial numbers of vaccine deliveries and storing them in a blockchain ledger, goods can be authenticated at any point in the supply chain. To understand the process of how blockchain technology precisely solves the issue of data storage, retrieval processes and information sharing, we can look at ‘VacciFi’, an architectural framework for Covid vaccination passports that is described in a. provided to learn who examined a GDPR-compliant blockchain-based Covid vaccination pass.
Let’s say we apply this framework to travel. With this framework, an unvaccinated person would register for vaccination through their local health authority. After registration, they were given a vaccination card that they took to the hospital or clinic to be vaccinated. During the visit to the hospital, the receptionist collects all the necessary information about the person who is being vaccinated. Information such as the traveller’s name, passport number, contact number, etc. will be lost due to regulations such as B. stored outside the chain general data protection Compliance purposes. The hospital would store two types of information on the blockchain: 1) passport number and generated hash of vaccination ID and 2) date of vaccination dose administered. This generates a QR code that is inserted into the passport and also passed on as an electronic copy by email.
The QR code is used to check the vaccination data and its validity. Four operations can occur in off-chain systems: create (the right to create a new data record in the off-chain), Read (the right to read and display data records), update (the right to update existing data records) and delete (Deletion of records). Here are the proposed access privileges from various agencies based on the VacciFi framework:
Here everyone involved has the opportunity to read the existing records and check a citizen’s vaccination card. The only body that can create or delete the file is the vaccination authority.
When traveling, the traveler presents the QR code to immigration staff. After scanning the QR code, all relevant vaccination data and the hash code (generated in the hospital) from the local off-chain storage. The hash is then verified by comparing it with the hash stored on the permitted blockchain via a smart contract. If they match, the blockchain returns the validity and the date of the vaccination (Figure 3) and thus concludes the verification process.
The security only associated with QR code-based digital health record systems inherited by many vaccination records is a matter of great concern. Since it is personal data, leaks or inadequate security measures create the potential for a complete invasion of privacy. Blockchain technology is already being used to combat counterfeit vaccines and scams that threaten our long-term stability.
This dilemma goes beyond vaccines. Reports of fake vaccination certificates circulating keep making the news, alluding to the need for more trustworthy technology to mitigate these unintended and deadly consequences. The World Health Organization says counterfeit vaccines and other malicious alternatives to bypassing our vaccine verification systems “pose a serious risk to global public health.” Since vaccine inequality is also a negative catalyst in our fight against Covid-19, counterfeit vaccines in poorer countries are already one low supply and vaccination rates.
George Connolly, President of OneLedger Technology Inc., oversaw the development of the OnePass Vaccine Passport, a scalable and secure one Blockchain-based vaccine passport. He explains in one items that these passports issued by a medical provider contain a private key that is unique to the user. Each private key has a corresponding public key that is stored in the blockchain ledger. A QR code is generated from the ledger to confirm that a person has been vaccinated. Blockchain-based passport users have the freedom to choose what information they want to disclose, such as: B. Name, date of birth and / or nationality. This strengthens data protection and promotes the creation of reliable and accurate vaccination cards.
Although blockchain cannot solve the questions surrounding the inclusiveness and equity of vaccine verification systems, it can provide a platform for success for countries trying to implement their systems safely and securely and manage the flow of information in real time.