UK's NHS using blockchain tech to store COVID-19 vaccines

The NHS logo on a white and blue background

Several of the UK’s National Health Service’s (NHS) facilities have begun using distributed ledger technology from Everyware and Hedera Hashgraph to monitor the cold storage equipment used to store vaccines, including those being used to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Distributed ledger technology has increased in popularity over the last decade thanks to bitcoin’s public ledger called the blockchain which records transactions.

NHS facilities currently using the technology include hospitals in Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick but a wider rollout is planned as the distribution of the vaccine increase – as of January 17, over 4 million people have received their first vaccine dose according to government data. The two private companies are helping the NHS monitor the temperature of the vaccines continually and keeping trusted logs of this data on the blockchain.

Explaining the partnership, Everyware’s Technical Director Tom Screen said:

“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. Hedera's distributed ledger technology provides that tamper-proof record-keeping system, making it perfect for recording and validating results efficiently and cost-effectively. Everyware welcomes collaboration with other partners in the vaccine supply chain to ensure end-to-end traceability.”

To see public ledger technology being put to use outside of cryptocurrencies is quite interesting. Pundits who were sceptical of bitcoin’s longevity always made sure to caveat their comments by saying that they thought the underlying blockchain technology would have a future; not long after their predictions, we are already beginning to see the technology in critical distribution networks.

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