Both in our environment and on our bodies, germs are all around us. A dangerous organism can cause disease and even death when it comes into contact with a vulnerable individual. It takes time for the immune system to react and develop antibodies that are specific to an antigen once the body is first exposed to it. The person is still susceptible to getting sick in the interim.
This is where vaccines come in handy. Vaccines contain weakened antigens or a blueprint of it, which will not cause the disease in the person receiving the vaccine, but it will prompt their immune system to respond much as it would have on its first reaction to the actual pathogen.
The importance of vaccination came into light once again during the covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death. There is also some evidence that being vaccinated will make it less likely that you will pass the virus on to others, which means your decision to get the vaccine also protects those around you.
As a rule, government healthcare systems were the great propellers of Covid-19 vaccination. Although in most cases it worked really well, there is room for improvement. Recently, the possibility of using blockchain to improve the efficiency of public healthcare systems has been discussed.
Blockchain is a peer-to-peer network of nodes or blocks connected by cryptography that keeps track of transactions in a common database. Originally created to facilitate transactions of cryptocurrencies, blockchain has expanded beyond bitcoin trading. This technology may help with data management and operations in the following sectors: foreign aid, smart contracts, law enforcement, central banking and – as it was said before – public healthcare.
One incredible initiative is Guardtime. They aspire to create zero-trust systems i.e. systems that can provide formally verifiable mathematical proof of the correctness of operations. The Estonian and the Emirati governments have used Guardtime to improve service in their healthcare and cybersecurity systems. Of interest, the company also created VaccineGuard, a digital platform connecting vaccine distributors, manufacturers and hospitals. The platform can provide counterfeit vaccine detection by using blockchain to allow easy and secure data sharing between participants. By facilitating communication and data sharing between parties, it will make vaccine distribution more efficient and faster.
In a time where vaccinating the population in large scale became a world-wide priority, any technology that may assist in this goal should be in all government radars. These are only a few of the numerous potential advantages of blockchain for health care and vaccination. Blockchain is the future and we all should be paying close attention to new developments and new projects.