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In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid roll-out of a vaccine and the implementation of a worldwide immunization campaign is critical, but its success will depend on the availability of an operational and transparent distribution chain that can be audited by all relevant stakeholders. In this paper, we discuss how blockchain technology can help in several aspects of COVID-19 vaccination scheme. We present a system in which blockchain technology is used to guaranty data integrity and immutability of beneficiary registration for vaccination, avoiding identity thefts and impersonations. Smart contracts are defined to monitor and track the proper vaccine distribution conditions against the safe handling rules defined by vaccine producers enabling the awareness of all network peers. For vaccine administration, a transparent and tamper-proof solution for side effects self-reporting is provided considering beneficiary and administrated vaccine association. A prototype was implemented using the Ethereum test network, Ropsten, considering the COVID-19 vaccine distribution conditions. The results obtained for each on-chain operation can be checked and validated on the Etherscan. In terms of throughput and scalability, the proposed blockchain system shows promising results while the estimated cost in terms of gas for vaccination scenario based on real data remains within reasonable limits
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Journal of the Computer Society
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1
Abstract In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid roll-out of a vaccine and the implementation of a worldwide
immunization campaign is critical, but its success will depend on the availability of an operational and transparent distribution
chain that can be audited by all relevant stakeholders. In this paper, we discuss how blockchain technology can help in several
aspects of COVID-19 vaccination scheme. We present a system in which blockchain technology is used to guaranty data integrity
and immutability of beneficiary registration for vaccination, avoiding identity thefts and impersonations. Smart contracts are
defined to monitor and track the proper vaccine distribution conditions against the safe handling rules defined by vaccine producers
enabling the awareness of all network peers. For vaccine administration, a transparent and tamper-proof solution for side effects
self-reporting is provided considering beneficiary and administrated vaccine association. A prototype was implemented using the
Ethereum test network, Ropsten, considering the COVID-19 vaccine distribution conditions. The results obtained for each on-
chain operation can be checked and validated on the Etherscan. In terms of throughput and scalability, the proposed blockchain
system shows promising results while the estimated cost in terms of gas for vaccination scenario based on real data remains within
reasonable limits.
Index Terms Blockchain, COVID-19, Immunization programs, Data integrity and immutability, Smart contracts, Vaccine distribution,
Transparency and audit.
I. INTRODUCTION
1
OVID-19 virus part of the coronavirus ribonucleic acid
virus family [1] has generated a worldwide pandemic
being very easy to spread and pushing a lot of pressure on
the healthcare system and levels of the society. Since its
identification in Wuhan, China in December 2019, it has
spread rapidly through community transmission generating
up to December 2020 to around 65 million confirmed cases
and more than 1.5 million deaths [2], [3]. Even if significant
efforts have been made for fighting the pandemic, the
spreading rate of the virus was only slowed. In many
countries, the restriction measures are still in place to avoid
suffocating the hospitals and treatment centers [4].
In this context, the rapid roll-out of a vaccine and the
implementation of a worldwide immunization campaign is
critical for the control of the pandemic. Since the beginning
of the pandemic, the pharmaceutical companies have
concentrated their efforts on developing a vaccine in record
time to achieve COVID-19 containment [5], [6]. While some
COVID-19 vaccines are in the final test phases, preparing
and planning for mass immunization becomes extremely
important. Nevertheless, several aspects are likely to
influence the success of the COVID-19 immunization
1
Submission Date: 04 February 2021
The authors are with the Computer Science Department, Faculty of
Automation and Computer Science, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca,
program. In our opinion blockchain, may provide the
technological means for addressing them.
The first aspect is the availability of an operational and
transparent end-to-end supply chain and logistics systems
[7], [8]. Its role is to assure vaccine storage and stock
management, and rigorous temperature control in the cold
chain [5]. Table I shows the storage and distribution
requirements of the most likely vaccine candidates.
Blockchain can increase the efficiency and transparency
of COVID-19 vaccine distribution assuring the traceability
and the rigorous audit of the storage and delivery conditions.
Blockchain-based solutions may provide a fully automated
implementation of data accountability and provenance
tracking in vaccine distribution. In this way, it will enable the
Memorandumului 28, 400114 Cluj-Napoca, Romania (emails:
{claudia.pop, tudor.cioara, marcel.antal, ionut.anghel}@cs.utcluj.ro).
Blockchain platform for COVID-19 vaccine
supply management
Claudia Antal (Pop), Member, IEEE, Tudor Cioara, Member, IEEE, Marcel Antal, Member, IEEE,
Ionut Anghel, Member, IEEE
C
TABLE I
COVID-19 CANDIDATE VACCINES TEMPERATURE CONTROL CONDITIONS
[10], [11].
Refrigerator
temperature
Max storage days
Pfizer
N/A
30 days after
opening the
freezer
Modena
2-8 degrees
Celsius
30 days in the
refrigerator
Oxford-
AstraZeneca
2-8 degrees
Celsius
6 months in the
refrigerator
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Journal of the Computer Society
integration of different information silos owned and
managed by different types of stakeholders on the entire
distribution chain. Self-enforcing smart contracts may assure
the traceability of the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain. This
is important in the cold part of the chain, where the vaccine
needs to be kept at extremely low temperatures to remain
viable. A breach in guaranteeing the delivery conditions will
be registered on the blockchain in a tamper-proof manner.
All network peers will be made aware due to the distributed
ledger block distribution and replication features. Finally, the
blockchain can act as proof of the delivery chain, making it
very difficult to counterfeit the vaccine. At any point, the
medical units and the vaccine beneficiaries would cab trace
it back up to the companies that have registered the vaccine
lots in circulation.
The second aspect is the transparency and correctness in
the registration and management of the waiting list of people
for immunization. The data on this list is not only sensitive
but at the same time, it requires correctness, avoidance of
impersonation, privacy, and immutability. These properties
can be provided by using blockchain technology. Blockchain
can change how the waiting list is managed by allowing
parties mutually unknown to transact the vaccine as a digital
asset securely without a central trusted intermediary. Such a
decentralized system will remove the necessity of having
third parties’ entities that centralize and manage the waiting
list. The immutability of transactions and the authorization
provided by using smart contracts allow all network peers to
restrict access to their private information. All actions
executed by a smart contract may be propagated across the
network and recorded on the blockchain, and therefore are
publicly visible. Transactional privacy, as well as the privacy
of personal data, can be assured using novel solutions such
as the incorporation of zero-knowledge proofs which are
cryptographic techniques that can enforce privacy for
verifying private data without revealing it in its form [12],
[13].
Finally, the third aspect is building trust in the vaccine
effectiveness by implementing a transparent and public
reporting system of potential side effects. It includes the
automatic tracing back up vaccine lot level and mapping of
reported side effects. Concerns have been raised that
different drug makers do not report correctly and completely
the side effects to relevant authorities [14], [15]. Thus, a
transparent and reliable system to report the side effects once
a drug/vaccine is released is crucial. In this sense, a
blockchain platform would bring advantages concerning the
existing state of the art solutions. Any beneficiary that has
received a vaccine, will report any problems/symptoms
encountered after the administration using blockchain. A
transaction will be stored associating the vaccine lot and will
be replicated in the network. All other peers will be made
aware and the report could be validated using the peers’
consensus concerning vaccine lot. Furthermore, being stored
in an immutable log, all the reported side effects are
protected against tampering.
Analyzing the existing state of the art literature reviewed
in Section II one may see that there are many applications of
blockchain that are investigated such as contact tracing,
immunity passport, and COVID-19 diagnosis [51]. Even
though blocking technology has some relevant features in
addressing all the three critical aspects for implementing a
successful immunization campaign, very few approaches can
be found in the literature. Moreover, most of the blockchain
solutions proposed to manage the COVID-19 vaccine supply
chain are in the early phase of design studies [27], [37], or
are viewpoints from blockchain companies or stakeholders
[41], [46], [47].
In this paper we introduce a blockchain-based system for
the transparent tracing of COVID-19 vaccine registration,
storage and delivery, and side effects self-reporting.
Leveraging on blockchain technology features it describes
the development of the following novel mechanisms:
A blockchain-based solution for data immutability,
transparency, and correctness of beneficiary
registration for vaccination to avoid the problem of
identity thefts and impersonations.
A decentralized smart contracts-based solution for
monitoring the proper vaccine transportation
conditions in a cold chain and real-time awareness
of all peers about the fulfillment of COVID-19
vaccine delivery and storage conditions.
Smart contracts-based solution for vaccine
administration and tamper-proof self-reporting of
side effects, person identification, and vaccine
association.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows: Section II
describes the relevant related work in the area of Information
and Communication Technology (ICT) and blockchain
solutions for managing immunization campaigns; Section III
presents the methods and procedures for the proposed
blockchain system for safe vaccine distribution and Section
IV presents a test case for COVID-19 vaccine distribution
tracking and system scalability results. Finally, Section V
presents conclusions and future work.
II. RELATED WORK
ICT solutions for supporting immunization campaigns are
proposed in the state of the art mostly for optimal distribution
planning of vaccines [16]-[18]. In [19] a drive-through
vaccination simulation tool is proposed for planning and
feasibility assessment of such facilities based on event
processing and agent-based modeling to minimize waiting
times, staff required, immunization intervals, etc. Vaccine
distribution for heterogeneous population has been
approached by using mathematical modelling using equity
constraint to maintain fairness and to optimize the number of
vaccine doses in case of an influenza outbreak [17], [18].
Various heuristics and custom optimization algorithms are
proposed for optimizing the distribution network design
[20]-[22].
Recent advancements of contemporary technologies such
as Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and blockchain
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Journal of the Computer Society
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3
pave the way for building more smart and innovative systems
that can be adapted to different domains as it is the case of
the healthcare domain [23]. The authors of [24] propose the
use of IoT devices to monitor the location of the carrier,
temperature and humidity with the goal of optimizing and
increasing vaccine coverage in the remote regions and
ensuring transparency in the overall process. Blockchain
based decentralized systems for addressing healthcare sector
problems such as privacy and confidentiality of data are
presented in [25], [26]. Recent studies have pointed the
possibilities of using blockchain in combating the COVID-
19 pandemic most of them addressing the decentralized
tracking of contracts and symptoms or for assuring security
and immutability [27]. Relevant use cases for blockchain
technology in managing COVID-19 pandemic contact
tracing, patient data sharing, supply chain management are
overviewed in [28]. Other studies have shown that
blockchain can be used to develop trustful predictive systems
that can help containing the pandemic risks on national
territory [29] or to securely track the movements of residents
in quarantine scenarios using IoT infrastructures [30].
Incentive based approaches have been proposed to battle
against the COVID-19 pandemic that use blockchain to
prevent information tampering and incentives for rewarding
patients to remain in quarantine [31].
Blockchain has been proposed as a solution for
organization and management of industry supply chains [32].
For pharmaceutical supply chain where temperature
monitoring or counterfeit drug prevention are of utmost
importance, IoT and blockchain frameworks may offer a
viable solution [33]. In [34] a blockchain drug supply chain
management is combined with a machine learning
recommendation system. The supply chain management
system is deployed using Hyperledger fabrics to
continuously monitor and track the drug delivery process
while N-gram, LightGBM models are used to recommend
the best medicines to the customers. In [35] Gcoin
blockchain is proposed for the data flow of drugs to create
transparent drug transaction data where every unit that is
involved in the drug supply chain can participate in the same
time to prevent counterfeit of drugs.
Few approaches in the literature are addressing the
development of blockchain based systems for distribution of
vaccines. Authors of [36] propose a blockchain management
system for the supervision of vaccine supply chains through
smart contracts also dealing with vaccine expiration and
fraud recording. Machine learning models are used for
recommendations to choose better immunization methods
and vaccines. A blockchain model for the COVID-19
vaccine distribution chain is proposed in [37]. The approach
proposes monitoring each phase from development to
application, considering the emerging and commercial
chains while leveraging on blockchain for authenticating
each process and registering changes. Similarly, in [38]
efficient supply chain management through smart containers
with IoT sensors is proposed and used to administer
shipment, payments, legitimize receiver, etc. VeChain [39]
is developing a blockchain-based platform for vaccine
production and tracing in China using IoT devices to capture
vaccine production data and store it an enterprise blockchain
to ensure immutability. Finally, blockchain can help to track
the vaccines and make sure they haven’t been compromised
or even to keep track of patients’ vaccine records and provide
proof of vaccination especially because COVID-19 will
require two vaccine doses [40], [41].
III. BLOCKCHAIN AND SMART CONTRACTS
Blockchain provides the technological infrastructure for
developing decentralized applications [52]. It features a
linked list of blocks chained using hash pointers, each block
storing transactions for an asset that may be digitized [53].
Thus, at its core, blockchain technology relies on hash-based
data structures that provide benefits like collision-free, data
binding, and data concealing. As a result, the transactions are
stored in tamper-evident data structures, creating a log of
state transitions offering data provenance and traceability
capabilities. The state transitions can refer either to a coin
transaction like in Bitcoin [54], to smart contracts state
updates such as Ethereum [55], or to a property as in
DigiShares [56], etc.
Mining algorithms seal the log of transactions by the
agreement of all network participants, making it immutable.
The immutability of the structures combined with the
security offered by asymmetric cryptography makes
blockchain a powerful technology in building safe and
reliable decentralized systems. Anyway, the attacks of
malicious participants need to be addressed. They are joining
the network to disrupt the correctness and integrity of the
validation process or to create forks in the linear structure of
the chain. This is avoided in blockchain due to the
complexity of the mining (e.g. Proof-of-Work algorithm
[57]) or other type consensus algorithms [43] [58] requiring
the agreement of over 50% of network participants. The most
used consensus algorithms in the blockchain networks are
the Proof Protocols. Proof of Work (PoW) is the consensus
algorithm used by two of the most known public
blockchains, Bitcoin and Ethereum. It requires for a block to
be considered valid, to contain the solution of a
computationally intensive puzzle. In the mining process, the
participant node that manages to solve the puzzle will append
the block with the most recent transactions to the chain.
Thus, a malicious participant cannot influence the validation
decisions of the other nodes, if it does not own most of the
mining power in the network. The amount of computing
power needed for a successful attack will continue to
increase with the number of trustful nodes in the network
thus becoming unlikely.
The introduction of smart contracts, as stateful pieces of
code executed by all network participants changed how the
applications are implemented. Smart contracts can
programmatically impose business rules regarding the
transfer of assets. A new development paradigm has emerged
for decentralized applications that are governed by the same
features as the transactions of cryptocurrency. The smart
contracts code, once written, is immutable and subject to the
consensus algorithm such as the sealing of transactions. This
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facilitates the implementation of decentralized applications
in which the business logic could now be written in smart
contracts using different Turing Complete programming
languages and are deployed on blockchain networks offering
highly secured solutions.
Finally, the QR codes [59] are 2D matrix barcodes that
can store a lot of information about the physical asset with
which they are associated. They may be processed by all
popular smartphones, making them a convenient to assure
the link to digital assets and systems. Recently QR codes
have been adopted and integrated with blockchain solutions
for decentralized tracking of various assets [60], [61].
Featuring automatic generation and scanning, they increase
the processes reliability especially on the human interaction
part. Also, in the COVID 19 pandemic QR codes became the
main method touchless interaction especially in hospitals
[62], [63].
Considering the state of the art reported in Section II and
the presented technological background and advantages, we
propose a blockchain system that manages the distribution
and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. In our case, the
main considered digital asset is the vaccine. Transactions
describing the interactions of various actors with the system
and the progression of vaccines through the supply chain
from creation until administration are registered on the
blockchain. Smart contracts implement the vaccine
distribution administration rules being replicated in each
node of the network allowing for transaction validation.
Transactions are aggregated in a block which is
replicated in the network allowing each node to validate the
state transitions. The proposed changed state is accepted and
inserted in the chain only if its validation is successful,
otherwise, the block is dropped. Each transaction is tracked
and validated by each node locally, before unanimously
accepting it into the history. In this way, we offer a replicated
and highly reliable solution because each node will validate
the vaccine and beneficiary registration, vaccine distribution
and administration, etc.
Moreover, to automatize the integration with the physical
world, QR codes are integrated with the blockchain system.
In our case, a QR code provides information regarding the
vaccine registration, a 34 character hash representing the
smart contract address, the registration proof, a hash of
alphanumeric characters identifying a transaction that has
been mined in the blockchain, the vaccine lot id, etc.
Furthermore, since all this information is immutably stored
in the blockchain system, the associated QR code once
generated remains valid.
Finally, our system works on a public blockchain such as
the Ethereum public chain configuration. To conduct a
successful attack, the malicious nodes need to have more
than 50% percent of the computational power of the
Ethereum network miners which is extremely unlikely.
IV. METHODS AND PROCEDURES
The traditional COVID-19 vaccine scheme [48] is
considered fragile mainly due to the challenges imposed by
the vaccine distribution, tracking, and registration. Several
issues need to be carefully monitored and audited: vaccine
damage due to its transport conditions; lack of coordination
for distribution and registration; shortage of personnel;
limited capacity [49]. In this distribution scheme, the
containers must move across the world while IoT devices
and sensors need to keep track of their temperature and
location and this data should be stored and validated for
assuring that vaccines are not corrupt. The vaccine producers
need to prepare lots of vaccines and provide the associated
data for their fair and trustful distribution. The medical
centers will receive the vaccines and will need to make sound
planning for their administration. Also, they will need to find
solutions to avoid impersonations. The beneficiary must
have safe and secure access to the vaccine and have the
possibility to report side effects in a trustful manner. All
these processes currently involve human intervention and
manual activities that cannot assure a high level of security
and privacy and finally will led to delays and prolong the
pandemic [50].
To digitize and decentralize the traditional scheme, we
propose a blockchain system which allows for transparent
COVID-19 vaccine tracking, distribution monitoring, and
administration (see Fig. 1). It uses the distributed ledger for
storing vaccine data assuring information immutability. It
provides reliable information related to the vaccines safe
transportation to the beneficiaries, and for the identification
other the of main actors involved in the vaccination scheme.
The main actors of the traditional vaccination scheme will
act as peer nodes in the proposed blockchain-based system:
i) the beneficiaries that register for vaccination, ii) the
company that prepares and registers the vaccine batches/lots
for transportation, iii) the IoT sensor devices that
continuously monitor the vaccine delivery, storage and
handling; iv) the medical centers that will receive the vaccine
and prepare it for administration and v) the doctor who
validates the beneficiary, delivery and storage conditions and
administers the vaccine. All the actions are registered into
the distributed ledger as immutable transactions which are
stored in blocks that are replicated to all the peer actors in the
chain. This will provide high transparency of the vaccine
handling operations enabling the tracking and registration of
the COVID-19 vaccine as a digital asset.
Fig. 1. Blockchain and immunization program management: vaccine
registration, tracking, monitoring, administration, and self-reporting.
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The main features of the system as well as their
implementation using self-enforcing smart contracts are
detailed in the next sub-sections.
A. Immutable registration of vaccine beneficiaries
Beneficiary registration on the blockchain-based system
ensures the privacy of identity and avoids impersonations.
As shown in Fig. 2, before the registration, the beneficiary
generates a secret key (SK) that will be stored off-chain and
will be later used to prove his/her identity. A Merkle Proof
[42] is used to maintain personal data privacy and anonymity
on-chain, while at the same time enabling the beneficiary to
prove their identity without revealing it. A hash of the SK is
generated for the beneficiary and stored in the root node
together with the hash of the Personal Identification Number
(PI) from the identity card. A hashing algorithm is used for
automatically generating the hash of the PI and SK.
    (1)
The root of the Merkle Proof (P_HASH) becomes the
payload of a blockchain transaction signed by the beneficiary
and aimed for the Vaccine Registry (V_REG) contract
deployed on chain, marking the intent to receive the vaccine.
Once mined, the transaction hash and the contract address
are sent back to the beneficiary. A QR Code is automatically
generated for the beneficiary, storing: the transaction hash,
the contract address, the PI, and the hash of the SK. It will
that will be later shown by the beneficiary to the doctor for
its reliable identification. The QR code uses standardized
encoding and decoding (ReedSolomon error correction
[63]) for data and will allow to easily identify, verify, and
validate the beneficiary when administering the vaccine by
simply scanning it in the system.
All relevant actors’ registration actions are managed using
smart contract functions (see Fig. 3). We have used a map
structure to keep track of the registered actors because it
features an acceptable time overhead to access the resources
for verification and validation. This leads to lower execution
costs of the blockchain transactions. The beneficiary can
register the request and intent for receiving the vaccine, and
the address signing the registration transaction will be stored.
As input payload, the beneficiary must provide the
beneficiaryHash (line 10) represented by the Merkle Root.
During the verification step conducted by the doctor, the
beneficiary will need to reveal the raw data. In this way,
she/he will prove that he/she is the actual person who made
the registration request using a pseudo-anonymized
blockchain address. Upon smart contract deployment, the
vaccine issuer address is stored as the one that has signed the
deployment transaction (line 2). The functions for action
registration associated with other actors such as Medical
Centers, vaccine producers, or IoT devices ensure that their
transactions are signed with corresponding verified
addresses (line 7).
B. Vaccine distribution chain monitoring
The goal, in this case, is to make transparent the degree to
which the defined conditions for vaccine storage and
manipulation are met during the entire distribution chain.
Smart contracts are used to evaluate continuously the data
received from sensors deployed on storage units or attached
to the transportation freezers against the defined conditions
rules (see Fig. 4).
First, the vaccine producer company must register a set of
rules for safe distribution and storage of the vaccine batches
(see Fig. 4). The rules are encoded in smart contracts
associated with specific IoT devices as rules that must be
checked each time new data is provided:
Fig. 2. Immutable registration of vaccine beneficiary with the blockchain
system.
Smart Contract: Actors Registration
1: State:
2: address _vaccineIssuer
3: MAP (address doctor, bool inserted) _doctors
4: MAP (address admin, bool inserted) _medicalUnitAdmins
5: MAP (address beneficiary, bool inserted) _beneficiary
6: MAP (bytes beneficiaryHash, address beneficiary)
_registeredRequests
7: Function Modifiers: - onlyIssuer; onlyMedicalManagers; -
onlyFreezer
8:
9: Function RegisterBeneficiary
10: Input: msg.sender, beneficiaryHash
11: Output: -
12: Modifiers: -
13: Begin:
14: _beneficiary [msg.sender] true
15: _registeredRequests [beneficiaryHash] msg.sender
16: End
Fig. 3. Registering vaccination scheme actors’ actions on the chain.
Fig. 4. Monitoring the vaccine distribution chain.
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Journal of the Computer Society
    
     (2)
The companies in the distribution chain or the medical
centers can register a set of freezing devices used for vaccine
manipulation and storage. The vaccine lots can be
transported and stored in different types of devices
depending on the destination up to distance and travel time
(Fig. 4). At the same time, they may update the correlations
of the freezing devices with vaccine lot. This is done by
mapping the vaccine batch ready to be transported to a
freezer ID that has associated a set of rules. All the
associations and rules are stored in the blockchain distributed
ledger making them difficult to be modified.
The IoT devices are responsible to sign blockchain
transactions containing the monitored data. The transactions
must contain the following payload:
      (3)
specifying the vaccine batch identifier , the value
monitored by the sensor and the rule . Once the
transaction is mined, the smart contract will verify the
identity of the device that has signed the transaction and the
monitored value against the rule limits defined for safe
vaccine handling. After the transaction is stored in the
blockchain, it triggers the execution of the smart contract
rules. The results of execution are the validation or
invalidation of the vaccine transportation in safe conditions.
Using transaction time registered on the blockchain, the rule
specifying the maximum time limit for transportation and
storage is validated.
By storing the monitored values and the rules on the
blockchain, the immutability and integrity of the data are
assured. The monitored values cannot be changed and the
decision of annotating these values as
corresponding/breaking the issuer-imposed rules are subject
to consensus and mined in the chain in a tamper-resistant
manner. Any actor may check the registered logs and trust
that the results provided were not subject to malicious
tampering.
Fig. 5 presents the smart contract used to track the vaccine
distribution against the defined handling and storage rules.
The freezer devices and vaccine lots are registered on the
chain. The vaccine lots are assigned to freezing devices, this
association being updated during the distribution chain
enacting its decentralized tracing (see lines 9-18). Each time
a monitored value associated with a freezing device is
provided it is checked against the imposed rules (line 26-29).
The data regarding the monitored vaccine lot, all the
information regarding the validity of the rules, and the time
of transactions registration are stored in the blockchain in a
tamper-proof log managed by the contract (line 30-31).
C. Vaccine administration and side effects reporting
The most complex operation of the pipeline is the actual
vaccine administration. This step must check and validate the
following conditions for the blockchain system operation:
the identity of the beneficiary to be vaccinated, the
conditions of vaccine delivery and handling according to the
rules defined by the producer, and the association of
beneficiary with the vaccine to be administrated enabling the
further reporting of potential side effects.
The first step of the process is the validation of beneficiary
identity before the vaccination (see Fig. 6). It is performed
by the doctor using the beneficiary registration QR code
which contains the blockchain transaction hash, the smart
contract address, the hash of personal identification number,
and the hash of the secret key. Using the hashes extracted
from the QR code, the doctor performs an on-chain identity
verification for registration acknowledgment. Using the
Merkle Proof, the hash of the two values is compared against
the root stored in the blockchain during the beneficiary
registration step.
Smart Contract: Vaccine Distribution Monitoring
1: State:
2: MAP (bytes vaccine_LID, int samples) _vaccineLots
3: MAP (string rule, ImposedRules) _rules
4: MAP (address freezer, MAP (bytes vaccine_LID, bool inserted)
_freezers
5: MAP (address freezer, MAP (bytes vaccine_LID, long time)
_freezerRegistrationTime
6: MAP (address freezer, MAP (string rule, bool inserted))
_freezerRules
7: MAP (bytes vaccine_LID, MonitoredRule[])
_monitoredVaccines
8: ….
9: Function UpdateVaccineFreezer
10: Input: msg.sender, block.timestamp, vaccineLotId, oldFreezer,
newFreezer
11: Output: -
12: Modifiers: onlyMedicalManagers
13: Begin:
14: Requires _ vaccineLots [vaccineLotId] to exist
15: _ freezers[oldFreezer] [vaccineLotId] ← false
16: _ freezers[newFreezer] [vaccineLotId] ← true
17: _ freezerRegistrationTime [newFreezer] [vaccineLotId]
block.timestamp
18: End
19: Function Monitor
20: Input: msg.sender, block.timestamp, vaccineLotId, rule,
monitoredValue
21: Output: -
22: Modifiers: onlyFreezer
23: Begin:
24: Requires _ vaccineLots [vaccineLotId] to exist
25: Requires _ freezers[msg.sender] [vaccineLotId] to exist
26: Requires _rules [rule] to exist
27: valid = _rules [rule].maxValue < monitoredValue &&
28: _rules[rule].minValue > monitoredValue &&
29: _rules[rule].timeDelta < (block.timestamp
_freezerRegistrationTime [msg.sender] [vaccineLotId])
30: _monitoredVaccines[vaccineLotId].add(MonitoredValue
(msg.sender, rule, monitoredValue, block.timestamp, valid)
31: End
Fig. 5. Monitoring and tacking the vaccine over the distribution chain.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. For more information, see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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Journal of the Computer Society
OJCS-2021-02-0020
7
After the beneficiary identity verification is completed, the
vaccine QR Code is scanned to extract relevant vaccine
information stored on the blockchain, such as the smart
contract address that had registered it, the vaccine lot ID, and
transportation conditions.
After the vaccine is administrated, a two-step locking
mechanism is employed to mark the vaccine on the
blockchain using the signatures of the doctor and the
beneficiary. In the blockchain, the vaccine is marked as
administrated using the Hash (PI) of the beneficiary that had
received the vaccine. The smart contract managing this
process is presented in Fig. 7.
First, the beneficiary validation using QR code
information and blockchain registered data is done (lines 4-
10). This is done on the chain by offering as input the two
hashes (the hash of the PI, and the hash of the SK) and
checking the obtained root hash against the chain stored
beneficiary registry. Both the beneficiary and the doctor
must acknowledge the administration on the chain (lines 11-
22) by signing the associated blockchain transaction. When
both signatures are registered, the vaccine lot size is
decremented and the association between the beneficiary
Hash (PI) and the vaccine lot is registered (lines 19-20).
Any beneficiary that has received a vaccine can register
feedback and the eventual side effects encountered (see Fig.
8). By registering the side effects directly on the chain, the
information is difficult to be changed and censored. The
beneficiary will sign a blockchain transaction that is
authenticated and authorized (line 6), verified against the
vaccine administrated from the specified lot (line 7), and
correlated with reports of the other beneficiaries. As result,
the side effect registered is stored on-chain as a transaction
(line 8). Once the side effect is registered by the beneficiary,
the information is stored as an immutable log, thus any
attempt of third parties to alter it will be unsuccessful.
V. RESULTS
To evaluate our blockchain-based system we considered a
setup for the COVID-19 vaccine using the rules for safe
transportation and storage presented in [10]. We have
considered that the distribution company delivers the vaccine
lots to the interested medical care unit. It uses transportation
freezers that must reach their destination in a maximum of
10 days. The vaccine should be kept all this time at a
temperature between -80 and -60 Celsius degrees. Once
reaching the destination, the medical unit will transfer the
vaccine lots into the storage freezers where the vaccines can
be deposited up to 5 days at a temperature between 2-8
degrees Celsius.
A. COVID-19 vaccine distribution tracking
A prototype has been tested on a public Ethereum test
network, Ropsten [44]. The results obtained for each on-
chain operation can be validated on the Etherscan [44]
considering the transaction hash value reported in the next
sub-sections. Etherscan was chosen because is one of the
Fig. 6. Vaccine Administration Sequence Diagram.
Smart Contract: Safe Vaccine Administration
1: State:
2: MAP (bytes vaccine_LID, MAP (bytes hashPI, MAP (string role,
address actor)) _administrationSignatures
3: MAP (bytes hashPI, bytes vaccine_LID) _administratedVaccines
4: Function CheckBeneficiaryIdentity
5: Input: hashPI, hashSecret, beneficiaryAddress
6: Output: validationStatus
7: Begin:
8: hashBeneficiary ← keccak256 (concat(hashPI,
hashSecret))
9: validationStatus = _registeredRequests(hashBeneficiary)
equal to beneficiaryAddress
10: End
11: Function SignAdministratedVaccine
12: Input: msg.sender, vaccineLotId, hashPI
13: Begin:
14: IF msg.sender is doctor THEN
_administrationSignatures[vaccineLotId][hashPI][DOCTOR]
= msg.sender
15: ELSE IF msg.sender is beneficiary THEN
_administrationSignatures[vaccineLotId][hashPI][BENEFI]
= msg.sender
16: END IF
17: IF _administrationSignatures[vaccineLotId][hashPI]
[DOCTOR] exists &&
_administrationSignatures[vaccineLotId][hashPI]
[BENEF] exists THEN
18: _ administratedVaccines[hashPI] = vaccineLotId
19: _ vaccineLots[vaccineLotId].size = _
vaccineLots[vaccineLotId].size -1
20: END IF
21: End
Fig. 7. Validating the beneficiary and vaccine transportation and storage
conditions.
Smart Contract: Vaccine Potential Side Effects Reporting
1: State:
2: MAP (bytes vaccine_LID, MAP(bytes hashPI, string
description)) _sideEffects
3: Function RegisterSideEffect
4: Input: hashPI, hashSecret, vaccineLotId, sideEffect
5: Begin:
6: Requires CheckBeneficiaryIdentity (hashPI, hashSecret,
msg.sender) is valid
7: Requires _ administratedVaccines[hashPI] is vaccineLotId
8: _sideEffects[vaccineLotId][hashPI] = sideEffect
9: End
Fig. 8. Smart contract for side effect reporting.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. For more information, see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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Journal of the Computer Society
most important services for analyzing real-time Ethereum
network statistics and blockchain simulations. Also, it is
open, with no registration, and fees are needed for a third
party to check our system results. We are describing system
operations executed on-chain and the associated blockchain
transaction receipts. Information related to the actor who
signs the transaction, the executed call, and the transaction
costs in gas consumed are highlighted. For consensus, we
have used the PoW algorithm on the default configuration of
the public chain [57].
Actors and rules registration in the immunization program
We start by deploying the smart contract for registering
the main actors of the vaccination campaign on the
blockchain (Table II).
The vaccine producer must use its own Ethereum address
to sign the transaction that triggers the smart contract
deployment.
Next, the vaccine producer must sign transactions for
registering the recipient medical care units as receivers of the
future vaccine lots. For this, a medical unit administrator
must be registered on the blockchain. Similarly, the doctors
that will administer the vaccines are registered (see Table
III).
The vaccine producer must register the rules for safe
transportation and storage of the vaccines. In the depicted
scenario two transactions must be registered: one setting the
rules for transportation and one configuring the rules for
storage (see Table IV).
Similarly, the smart devices (freezers) that are responsible
to store or transport the vaccine lots should be registered by
associating one or more rules defined by the vaccine issuer
to the freezer, so that the real-time data feeds can be checked
against these rules automatically using the smart contracts
(see Table V).
At any point after the deployment of the smart contract,
any beneficiary can subscribe to the waiting list for the
vaccine. This is possible by issuing and signing a transaction
on the chain. The address of the signing beneficiary
(msg.sender) will be stored in the waiting list on-chain.
TABLE II
BLOCKCHAIN TRANSACTIONS FOR SMART CONTRACT DEPLOYMENT.
Operation
Contract Deployment
Signing
Address
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
(Vaccine Issuer)
Transaction
Receipt
transaction hash:
0xaed1e3267afa17f22d5a125cda449945407c2485b299
a8a15d9c0ff2beec6738
from:
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
to: VaccineRegistry.(constructor)
transaction cost: 2327309 gas
input: 0x608...40033
TABLE III
BLOCKCHAIN TRANSACTIONS FOR REGISTERING IMMUNIZATION CAMPING
ACTORS IN THIS CASE A DOCTOR.
Operation
Register Doctors
Signing
Address
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
(Vaccine Issuer)
Transaction
Receipt
transaction hash:
0x563ddcd6fba93dbb3c05d6cb6b366a9289efcf8dd209
d5516dbee66e86a8bbc6
from:
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
to: VaccineRegistry.registerDoctor(address)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost : 43798 gas
input: 0x699...26efa
decoded input { "address doctor":
"0xF3A1846C82c74EA5D5d32a9BB8759A8093C26eF
a" }
input: 0x608...40033
TABLE IV
BLOCKCHAIN TRANSACTIONS FOR REGISTERING THE VACCINE SAFE
DISTRIBUTION RULES.
Operation
Register Tracking Rules
Signing
Address
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
(Vaccine Issuer)
Rule
The vaccine should be transported at a temperature
between -80 and -60 Celsius degrees for maximum 10
days.
Transaction
Receipt
(Transport
ation Rule)
transaction hash:
0xbc8b46345096d4a69faccd7300cf3450f1fc66d1e2382
36d511dce1771aacf9f
from:
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
to: VaccineRegistry.registerTrackingRules(string,
int32, int32, uint256)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost : 216219 gas
input: 0x4a2...00000
decoded input {
"string rule": "transport-temperature",
"int32 minValue": -80,
"int32 maxValue": -60,
"uint256 timeDelta": {"type": "BigNumber",
"hex": "0x337f9800" } }
Rule
Vaccine should be stored at a temperature between 2
and 8 Celsius degrees for maximum 5 days.
Transaction
Receipt
(Storage
Rule)
transaction hash:
0xc5aa8f61103701da629ab3b5628e79ed8bf9729720d6
df0e1ae1888f0e9711ec
from:
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
to: VaccineRegistry.registerTrackingRules(string,
int32, int32, uint256)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 200595 gas
input: 0x4a2...26500
decoded input {
"string rule": "medicalunit-storage-temperature",
"int32 minValue": 2, "int32 maxValue": 8,
"uint256 timeDelta": { "type": "BigNumber",
"hex": "0x19bfcc00" } }
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Journal of the Computer Society
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9
Upon subscription, the vaccine beneficiary must also
provide a hash of his/her personal information (see Table
VI).
Vaccine tracking and administration
Once the vaccine is ready the producer can register the
vaccine lots on the blockchain system specifying the number
of vaccine samples in a lot and the vaccine lot ID (see Table
VII).
Next, the vaccine lot is associated with one of the
registered freezers. Each time a vaccine transfer is carried out
on the distribution chain it will be marked on the blockchain
chain by updating the freezer associated with the vaccine lot
(see Table VIII).
During transportation, the freezer will register on the chain
the values received from the associated sensors (in our case
the values are received from temperature sensors). They will
be registered in an immutable manner as transactions on the
blockchain system allowing the future audit of the vaccine
distribution conditions against the producer rules (see Table
IX).
TABLE V
BLOCKCHAIN TRANSACTIONS FOR REGISTERING THE FREEZING DEVICES.
Operation
Register Freezers
Signing
Address
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
(Vaccine Issuer)
Transaction
Receipt
(Transport
Freezer)
transaction hash:
0x1da71f023340fba695beeedf91ad447c7a41a726cf3296c
3eb71e59fd360621e
from:
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
to:
VaccineRegistry.registerFreezerAndRules(address,string)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 46581 gas
input: 0xe2d...00000
decoded input {
"address freezer":
"0xA53503C7901D09358F161eC8Ec8d442d0976B9cD",
"string rule": "transport-temperature" }
Transaction
Receipt
(Storage
Freezer)
transaction hash:
0x8d84c84d19995b9904e3a8bb9ebadea0fdd989f0388c92
a3c303e1e8fde459bb
from:
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
to:
VaccineRegistry.registerFreezerAndRules(address,string)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 46701 gas
input: 0xe2d...26500
decoded input {
"address freezer":
"0xDDb54C6fbB74a5b638EF014f7435426C46424642",
"string rule": "medicalunit-storage-temperature" }
TABLE VI
BLOCKCHAIN TRANSACTIONS FOR REGISTERING THE VACCINE BENEFICIARY.
Operation
Subscribe Beneficiary
Signing
Address
0xFfb4b11D94CFbbBA8665f7682D4d3B76261EAacC
(Beneficiary)
Raw
Personal
Data
PI: 20-10563145-8
Secret: my-super-secret
Hashed-
Personal
Data
Hash (PI):
0xa3f6550e5420ddda304a6b22772eb70b48ada3c7eb14
648e321bb65387c8cfab
Hash (Secret):
0x820371900007448f4a8d909327870ece84168bf90f1d
e8dddc0b6c7473c44b40
Patient
Hash
Merkle Root:
0xfe08609620228b43d9eb80125dfab7a1686e9c3cd7ea
5326aa1c5abf7e689b87
Transaction
Receipt
transaction hash:
0x76e5a604b3ca803e7738947dbc8616435d5fa410208e
382a6d51b58d86b0374c
from:
0xFfb4b11D94CFbbBA8665f7682D4d3B76261EAacC
to: VaccineRegistry.registerPatient(bytes32)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 84808 gas
input: 0x8eb...89b87
decoded input { "bytes32 patientHash":
"0xfe08609620228b43d9eb80125dfab7a1686e9c3cd7ea
5326aa1c5abf7e689b87" }
TABLE VII
BLOCKCHAIN TRANSACTIONS FOR REGISTERING THE VACCINE BATCHES.
Operation
Register Vaccine Lot
Signing
Address
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
(Vaccine Issuer)
Transaction
Receipt
transaction hash:
0x04ec1bc2f6a584810213b1521a515dc17e6f69ecda2e4
53ac1b554465cfa01b2
from:
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
to: VaccineRegistry.registerVaccineLot(bytes32,
uint256)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 64255 gas
input: 0x0a1...000c8
decoded input { "bytes32 vaccineLotId":
“0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d14383
062b2032d5656b13c5b5",
"uint256 samples": { "type": "BigNumber", "hex":
"0xc8" } }
TABLE VIII
BLOCKCHAIN TRANSACTIONS FOR REGISTERING THE VACCINE LOT.
Operation
Register Vaccine Lot for Transportation
Signing
Address
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
(Vaccine Issuer)
Transaction
Receipt
transaction hash:
0xf840c0653a1190a875825377afb7feacf130e7fc32d81
bde887ae71ef388a7c9
from:
0xD2796dE988975DD292e8aC981c4011B23E801DCd
to: VaccineRegistry.updateVaccineFreezer(bytes32,
address, address)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 68106 gas
input: 0xf63...6b9cd
decoded input { "bytes32 vaccineLotId":
"0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d1438
3062b2032d5656b13c5b5",
"address freezerDeviceNew":
"0xA53503C7901D09358F161eC8Ec8d442d0976B9cD
", "address freezerDeviceOld":
"0xA53503C7901D09358F161eC8Ec8d442d0976B9cD
" }
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Journal of the Computer Society
After reaching the medical care center, the beneficiaries
will be scheduled for having the vaccine administered. Any
vaccine beneficiary once reaching the doctor’s office will
have to provide the personal identification information QR
code. The doctor will scan the QR code which will offer
information about the beneficiary and the transaction hash
proving that the subscribing vaccination list transaction has
been mined (Table X).
Using this information, the patient will be verified against
the waiting list registered on chain (see Table XI).
Once validated, the doctor will check the vaccine sample
using its QR code associated, specifying the lot Id and the
address of the blockchain smart contract where the tracking
information is registered (see Table XII).
Using this information, the patient can verify the tracking
information and whether the vaccine lot was correctly
transported (see Table XIII).
TABLE IX
BLOCKCHAIN TRANSACTIONS FOR DISTRIBUTION TRACKING.
Operation
Vaccine distribution tracking
Signing
Address
0xA53503C7901D09358F161eC8Ec8d442d0976B9cD
(Transport Freezer)
Transaction
Receipt
transaction hash:
0x0338487f1a35aa763bde543d39159e26875ab7074230
3cc583fe3ce638279998
from:
0xA53503C7901D09358F161eC8Ec8d442d0976B9cD
to: VaccineRegistry.monitor (bytes32, string, int32)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 160278 gas
input: 0x524...00000
decoded input { "bytes32 vaccineLotId":
"0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d1438
3062b2032d5656b13c5b5", "string rule": "transport-
temperature", "int32 monitoredValue": -70}
Transaction
Receipt
transaction hash:
0xc816e94acd01eebfd524f49b16e910f53910c91eda444
5102c15a7653c0f8668
from:
0xA53503C7901D09358F161eC8Ec8d442d0976B9cD
to: VaccineRegistry.monitor (bytes32, string, int32)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 129212 gas
input: 0x524...00000
decoded input { "bytes32 vaccineLotId":
"0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d1438
3062b2032d5656b13c5b5", "string rule": "transport-
temperature",
"int32 monitoredValue": -55 }
decoded output -
logs [ { "from":
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
", "topic":
"0x285c0714a79fa669178437acfc343777469b86a755b
376b8143ad3087951d959",
"event": "BrokenRule", "args": { "0": "transport-
temperature", "1":
"0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d1438
3062b2032d5656b13c5b5", "2": "-55", "3":
"1607426813",
"rule": "transport-temperature", "vaccineLot":
"0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d1438
3062b2032d5656b13c5b5",
"value": "-55", "time": "1607426813" } } ]
… more monitored values
TABLE X
BENEFICIARY QR CODE AND DATA REGISTERED ON BLOCKCHAIN.
QR Code
Information stored
Information stored
PI: 20-10563145-8
Hash_Secret:
0x820371900007448f4a8d909327870ece84168bf90f1d
e8dddc0b6c7473c44b40
Contract:
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
TX_Hash:
0x76e5a604b3ca803e7738947dbc8616435d5fa410208e
382a6d51b58d86b0374c
PI: 20-10563145-8
Hash_Secret:
0x820371900007448f4a8d909327870ece84168bf90f1d
e8dddc0b6c7473c44b40
Contract:
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
TX_Hash:
0x76e5a604b3ca803e7738947dbc8616435d5fa410208e
382a6d51b58d86b0374c
TABLE XI
CHECKING BENEFICIARY SUBSCRIPTION TO THE VACCINE WAITING LIST.
Operation
Check Patient Subscription
Signing
Address
0xF3A1846C82c74EA5D5d32a9BB8759A8093C26e
Fa (Doctor)
Call
(Calls are
not mined
they are
only queries
to check the
state)
from:
0xF3A1846C82c74EA5D5d32a9BB8759A8093C
26eFa
to:
VaccineRegistry.checkPatientRegistration(bytes32,
bytes32, address)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0
A
Input: 0x615...eaacc
decoded input {
"bytes32 hashPI":
"0xa3f6550e5420ddda304a6b22772eb70b48ada3c7e
b14648e321bb65387c8cfab",
"bytes32 hashSecret":
"0x820371900007448f4a8d909327870ece84168bf90f
1de8dddc0b6c7473c44b40",
"address patient":
"0xFfb4b11D94CFbbBA8665f7682D4d3B76261EAa
cC"}
decoded output {"0": "bool: true"}
TABLE XII
VACCINE IDENTIFICATION QR CODE.
QR Code
Information stored
Information stored
V_ID
0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d1438306
2b2032d5656b13c5b5
Contract:
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
PI: 20-10563145-8
Hash_Secret:
0x820371900007448f4a8d909327870ece84168bf90f1d
e8dddc0b6c7473c44b40
Contract:
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
TX_Hash:
0x76e5a604b3ca803e7738947dbc8616435d5fa410208e
382a6d51b58d86b0374c
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Journal of the Computer Society
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11
Once the vaccine is administered, a multi-signature is
required on the chain for updating the vaccine lot size and
marking one vaccine sample as administered. The signatures
are expected from both the receiving beneficiary and the
doctor which has administrated the vaccine (see Table XIV).
Once both signatures are received, the vaccine is considered
successfully administrated and the vaccine lot size decreases
by one. This can be verified on-chain by any participant.
After receiving the vaccine, the patient can register
voluntarily any side effect he is feeling (see Table XV).
B. System Throughput and Cost
The integration of monitored data feed of vaccine
distribution condition directly on blockchain may feature
high costs associated with the cumulated blockchain
transactions and poor scalability determined by the block
mining periodicity and gas limit imposed per block. To deal
with these issues we have integrated a pre-processing step at
the edge level (physical device level) that is responsible to
receive all the data from one sensor deployed on the vaccine
distribution network and determine for an interval the most
significant values are registered on the chain. In this case, the
most significant values are the lowest and the highest
temperature values registered in that interval. This solution
had been presented in detail in one of our previously
published research [45].
For scalability experiments, we have considered the setup
and restrictions in terms of gas limits (approximately 12 000
000 per block) and mining periodicity (i.e. 15 seconds) of the
public Ethereum main network. In our blockchain-based
system case, we obtain a transaction cost of approximately
140 000 gas for registering the monitored temperature of the
freezing devices concerning vaccine safe delivery rules and
transaction throughput of approximately 85 transactions per
block.
The transaction mining results are presented in Fig. 9
considering an interval of one hour in which each device will
have to store two temperature monitoring transactions (one
for the minimum registered value and one for the maximum
registered value). Up to 10 000 freezers that are exclusively
signing transactions on the blockchain network can be
efficiently managed without creating a bottleneck. Being a
TABLE XIII
CHECK VACCINE DISTRIBUTION TRACKING INFORMATION.
Operation
Check Vaccine History
Signing
Address
0xFfb4b11D94CFbbBA8665f7682D4d3B76261EAacC
(Beneficiary)
Call
(Calls are
not mined
they are
only queries
to check the
state)
From:
0xFfb4b11D94CFbbBA8665f7682D4d3B76261EAacC
To: VaccineRegistry.checkVaccineLotHistory(bytes32)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
Input: 0xfb7...3c5b5
decoded input { "bytes32 vaccineLotId":
"0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d1438
3062b2032d5656b13c5b5" }
decoded output { "0": "tuple (address,
string,int32,uint256,bool)[]:
0xA53503C7901D09358F161eC8Ec8d442d0976B9cD,
transport-temperature, -70, 1607426735, true,
0xA53503C7901D09358F161eC8Ec8d442d0976B9cD,
transport-temperature, -55, 1607426813, false,
0xDDb54C6fbB74a5b638EF014f7435426C46424642,
medicalunit-storage-temperature, 5, 1607427059, true,
0xDDb54C6fbB74a5b638EF014f7435426C46424642,
medicalunit-storage-temperature, 10, 1607427155,
false"}
TABLE XIV
SIGNING THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF VACCINE ADMINISTRATION.
Operation
Signing
Signing
Address
0xFfb4b11D94CFbbBA8665f7682D4d3B76261EAacC
(Beneficiary)
Transaction
Receipt
transaction hash:
0x24813e343ccb5f4b5916367c5337385c494ff3e576a5e
1ffbcd5c9ee1f424508
from:
0xFfb4b11D94CFbbBA8665f7682D4d3B76261EAacC
to: VaccineRegistry.signAdministeredVaccine(bytes32,
bytes32)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 49401 gas
input: 0x4df...8cfab
decoded input { "bytes32 vaccineLotId":
"0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d1438
3062b2032d5656b13c5b5", "bytes32 hashPI":
"0xa3f6550e5420ddda304a6b22772eb70b48ada3c7eb1
4648e321bb65387c8cfab" }
Signing
Address
0xF3A1846C82c74EA5D5d32a9BB8759A8093C26eFa
(Doctor)
Transaction
Receipt
transaction hash:
0xf8d21694b2008cd123fa89899ed5b3a330df4460c53f2
5d3d15e8b1cdef76d4e
from:
0xF3A1846C82c74EA5D5d32a9BB8759A8093C26eFa
to: VaccineRegistry.signAdministeredVaccine
(bytes32,bytes32)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 74528 gas
input: 0x4df...8cfab
decoded input { "bytes32 vaccineLotId":
"0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d1438
3062b2032d5656b13c5b5", "bytes32 hashPI":
"0xa3f6550e5420ddda304a6b22772eb70b48ada3c7eb1
4648e321bb65387c8cfab" }
TABLE XV
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS REPORTING.
Operation
Register Side effect
Signing
Address
0xFfb4b11D94CFbbBA8665f7682D4d3B76261EAacC
(Beneficiary)
Transaction
Receipt
transaction
hash:0x7ed30d2cd822d854bc36ba666c657e5029e7f6d
72c1c67202aabff459a658a13
from:
0xFfb4b11D94CFbbBA8665f7682D4d3B76261EAacC
to: VaccineRegistry.registerSideEffect(bytes32,
bytes32, bytes32, string)
0x536798D9D1f0507C1a8600d9A475d410a90D5A0A
transaction cost: 48073 gas
input: 0x56f...00000
decoded input { "bytes32 hashPI":
"0xa3f6550e5420ddda304a6b22772eb70b48ada3c7eb1
4648e321bb65387c8cfab", "bytes32 hashSecret":
"0x820371900007448f4a8d909327870ece84168bf90f1
de8dddc0b6c7473c44b40", "bytes32 vaccineLotId":
"0xd7adb300b4c0d0f79bbb9195e3f9513b49caf8d1438
3062b2032d5656b13c5b5", "string sideEffect":
"Dizziness, Nausea" }
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. For more information, see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI 10.1109/OJCS.2021.3067450, IEEE Open
Journal of the Computer Society
linear relationship one can easily change the interval for
reporting monitored temperature transactions to
accommodate more transportation devices.
To analyze the system costs in terms of public blockchain
gas consumption we have considered the real-life scenario
based on the activity reported vaccination campaign in
Romania [64] [65]. On the 11th of January, 150.150 Pfizer
vaccine doses have arrived in Romania. There are 195 vials
per package, thus 770 packages (i.e. lots) of vaccines have
been delivered in the country that day. On the 14th of January
there were 309 vaccination centers deployed across the
country, and on the 15th of January vaccines have been
administered to 16057 beneficiaries. From this group 68
have reported side effects: 24 mild and local side effects and
44 generalized side effects like fever and headaches. For one
week (15- 21st January), 491342 persons have registered in
the national platforms for vaccination, leading to a mean of
70192 per day.
Table XVI reports the gas consumption per system
operation and the number of operations required for one day
considering the defined scenario. For our testing setup, we
have considered that the previously reported number for
system activities are registered uniformly during the hours of
the day. TABLE XVI
OPERATION COSTS AND FREQUENCY.
Operation
Gas/Operation
No.
operations
Register Vaccine lot
64255
770
Register Lot for Storage
68106
770
Subscribe Beneficiary
84808
70192
Sign Administration &
Update Lot
49401 + 74528 = 123929
16057
Side effects
48073
68
Monitor
~140000
18480
In our evaluation, we considered that on the same day of
the week the vaccines are delivered, and the lots also are
registered in the system. Even if the registration operations
would normally precede the delivery ones with at least one
day, the assumption made allowed us to determine the
aggregated gas consumption results. The blockchain system
operations of freezers monitoring, beneficiary registration,
and side effects reporting are distributed evenly throughout
the entire day. The vaccine administration, the registration of
the vaccine lots, and the arrival of the vaccine lot in the
medical storage unit are blockchain system operations
performed by specialized personnel during a 12-hour
program (from 8 in the morning until 20 in the afternoon).
The capacity of the blockchain to process transactions is
given by the maximum amount of gas that can be consumed
by the transactions mined in a block. Specifically, for our
setup, we considered the block capacity of 12 000 000 gas,
corresponding to the gas limit imposed by the Ethereum
public chain at the time of writing. As a result, a gas limit of
2880 million gas is determined per hour, considering a
mining rate of a block at 15 seconds. Figure 10 shows the gas
consumption corresponding to the system operations in a day
for our scenario. Even though we have considered a higher
number of operations than normal the gas consumed is at
least 6 times lower than the maximum capacity. Thus, many
more vaccines administration to beneficiaries could be
managed by our system in a day.
Fig. 10. Blockchain system cost in terms of transactions gas consumption
during a vaccination day
Besides the cost, in terms of gas consumption, and
transaction throughput limitations another challenge in a real
work setting is related to data privacy on one hand and the
system auditability and tracking on the other hand. For
example, to fulfil the General Data Protection Regulation
(GDPR) requirements [66] in Europe techniques like zero-
knowledge proof [67] may need to be considered. Also, the
GDPR can make difficult the integration of the blockchain
system with other public health and location services. This
might be needed some time for example for integrating the
beneficiary history for allergies prior to vaccination to be
used later for self-reporting of side effects and audit.
VI. CONCLUSION
In this paper we presented a blockchain-based system for
transparent tracing of COVID-19 vaccine registration,
storage and delivery and side effects self-reporting.
Blockchain is used to offer data immutability, transparency,
and correctness of beneficiary registration for vaccination,
avoiding identity thefts and impersonations. The tracking
and monitoring of vaccine distribution against the producer
defined rules for safe manipulation is done using
decentralized smart contracts. Also, a blockchain solution is
proposed for vaccine administration and transparent and
tamper-proof self-reporting of side effects, person
identification, and vaccine association.
The results provided for an Ethereum based
Fig. 9. Mining time for vaccine distribution temperature tracking
transactions.
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This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI 10.1109/OJCS.2021.3067450, IEEE Open
Journal of the Computer Society
OJCS-2021-02-0020
13
implementation show the feasibility of our proposed solution
in terms of transaction throughput and cost in terms of gas
consumption considering as reference scenario the
immunization campaign from our country. The proposed
system manages to successfully address all relevant aspects
we had identified for a successful monitoring campaign: (i)
increase the efficiency and transparency of COVID-19
vaccine distribution assuring the traceability and the rigorous
audit of the storage and delivery conditions (ii) assure the
transparency and correctness in the registration and
management of the waiting list for immunization and (iii)
provide a transparent and public reporting system of
potential side effects.
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covid-19-vaccines-arrived-in-romania/
[65] Romania Insider, 2021, https://www.romania-insider.com/romanians-
registered-vaccination-platform
[66] K. Hjerppe, J. Ruohonen and V. Leppänen, "The General Data
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[67] C. D. Pop, M. Antal, T. Cioara, I. Anghel and I. Salomie, Blockchain
and Demand Response: Zero-Knowledge Proofs for Energy
Transactions Privacy, Sensors, 2020, 20, 5678
Claudia Antal (Pop) received her PhD in 2019 from
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She
is Member IEEE and her expertise includes
blockchain technology for complex systems, energy
flexibility management and optimal smart grid
integration. Her PhD thesis was focused on energy
flexibility management using blockchain technology.
She is a Senior Lecturer of Computer Science at the
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. She is a
reviewer for important journals (Sensors, Sustainability, Energy) and she is
involved in different H2020 research projects being a Scientific Manager for
one of them. In the blockchain domain she has published in the past years
more than 10 papers in high impact journals.
Tudor Cioara, Member, IEEE, received the Ph.D.
degree in Computer Science from Technical
University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania in 2012 and the
habilitation degree in 2019. He is now a full
professor of Computer Science at the Technical
University of Cluj-Napoca. He is the leader of the
Distributed Systems Research Laboratory and he
coordinates several EU H2020 projects on energy
efficiency / blockchain / big data / platforms. His
current research interest is focused on decentralized systems, blockchain
energy efficiency, demand response, flexibility assessment activation and
aggregation, big data for energy systems. Tudor is a quality reviewer for
different journals including Future Generation Computer Systems, Journal
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. For more information, see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI 10.1109/OJCS.2021.3067450, IEEE Open
Journal of the Computer Society
OJCS-2021-02-0020
15
of Parallel and Distributed Computing, Information Sciences,
Sustainability, etc. He is also a PC member for IEEE international
conferences. He has published 15 Web of Science journal articles (Q1/Q2)
and over 60 scientific papers in international conferences or book chapters.
In 2020 Tudor has received the Romanian Academy award for outstanding
research activity in the energy efficient systems domain.
Marcel Antal, Member, IEEE received his PhD in
2018 from Technical University of Cluj-Napoca,
Romania with the thesis title “Self-Adaptive
Complex Systems with Applications in Energy
Efficient Data Centres”. He is an expert on
mathematical modelling and optimization of large-
scale systems and has as main research interest’s
blockchain, optimization of complex systems,
energy efficiency, blockchain and big data analysis. Marcel is acting as
reviewer for international conferences and journals and is currently involved
in five H2020 projects leading different work packages. He is a Senior
Lecturer of Computer Science at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
teaching Distributed Systems, Programming Oriented Techniques and Web
Programming.
Ionut Anghel received the PhD degree in Computer
Sciences in 2012 from Technical University of Cluj-
Napoca, Romania with the thesis “Autonomic
computing techniques for pervasive systems and
energy efficient data centres”. Currently he is an
Associate Professor of Computer Science at the
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca and he received
the habilitation degree in January 2021. Ionut is IEEE Member, active in the
following research areas: ambient assisted living, autonomic computing,
complex system modelling, IoT and green IT. He is involved in several EU
research projects. He is a reviewer for high impact journals (Future
Generation Computer Systems, Applied Energy, Computers & Electrical
Engineering, Computers & Electrical Engineering, Energies, Energy
Efficiency, etc.) and PC member in international conferences (IEEE ICCP,
IEEE, CSE, ENBIS, MCIS, etc.). Ionut is also a co-editor for journals
(Sensors, Sustainability).
... [18] In a desperate attempt to stem the massive increase in confirmed cases, and startled by the spread of a new, more contagious variant of the virus (once Delta, then Omicron, and now Deltamicron), [19][20][21] the developed and wealthy countries have continued to make concerted efforts to vaccinate as many of their citizens as possible, without considering the poor COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and fragile health systems of most developing and less developed countries. [20,22,23] Interestingly, although the largest-ever COVID-19 vaccine immunization campaign in Africa is under underway with over 22 million doses being distributed in 49 countries across the continent, whether a significant number of the African people will get the required the number of doses to achieved full protection against the virus is a serious public health concern. So far, only 1% of the 1.3 billion COVID-19 vaccines distributed worldwide have been administered in Africa, down from the initial 2%. ...
... The existence of the bottlenecks in the African COVID-19 vaccine supply chain discussed above implies that enough doses will not be readily and evenly made available in a timely manner to the unvaccinated and to those who are in need of booster doses haven received the initial dose of the vaccine. [22,48] Delay between doses might result in the development of partial immunity among the many millions people already vaccinated and worst still, create a potential breeding ground for vaccine-resistant variants. [24] Getting everyone vaccinated with a single dose with no doses available for a timely boost may not be without virological and immunological consequences, especially in resource-constrained countries in Sub-Sahara Africa with a shaky health system and numerous supply chain bottlenecks. ...
... As a result, developing a new vaccine to combat the new variant should not be a big deal. [22,49] ...
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... Immutability provides security against unfair and fraudulent Practices. [28], [33], [63], [75] Security BC provides security through the use of encryption protocols and cryptographic algorithms. ...
... Using BC technology in the supply chain and logistics sector might help them solve various issues such as cargo insurance, currency risk, liability for items destroyed during transportation, and so on. Data accountability and supply monitoring may be entirely automated using BCbased systems in vaccination distribution [33]. ...
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... At long last, the client application that presented the exchange proposition will be told by each companion on the organization of exchange achievement (Step 13). In paper [9], in this dissemination plot, the holders should get across the world while IoT gadgets and sensors need to monitor their temperature and area and this information ought to be put away furthermore, approved for it are not ruin to guarantee that antibodies. The immunization makers need to get ready heaps of antibodies and give the related information for their fair and trustful conveyance. ...
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... Since Covid-19, blockchain technology is used in smart healthcare for healthy travel in pandemic [32], Covid vaccine supply chain management [33], health pass for portable access control [34]. Researchers [35], [36] surveyed the usage of blockchain technology related to usage of security and privacy [37] in the applications and Covid. ...
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We can manufacture and distribute enough coronavirus vaccines to protect humanity Full text available free at https://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/devices/this-is-how-well-vaccinate-the-world-against-covid19