China’s CDC proposes a worldwide vaccination monitoring system based on blockchain and 5G

In view of the growing number of COVID-19 cases and vaccine coverage worldwide, obligatory “vaccination passports” for international travel may be required once the global economy recovers.

Notably, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued interim recommendations for the creation of smart vaccination certificates (SVCs) in March 2021, as well as the notion of digital vaccination certificates (DVCs).

Given that SVCs were developed for COVID-19 vaccines, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) is investigating a technological approach for implementing blockchain, the underlying technology of Bitcoin, that could be used in future vaccines, according to a report published on February 11 by the CCDC.

According to the Chinese Center: “In accordance with the advice, we offer a technological path for implementing blockchain, the underlying technology of Bitcoin, in trustworthy DVCs in this work.”

According to the CCDC, blockchain technology has “significant promise” for application in vaccination tracking because decentralising immunisation programme information systems enhances vaccine safety and data security while also monitoring and managing the whole vaccine distribution process.

“Blockchain technology has enormous potential for use in vaccination tracing. Utilizing blockchain technology to its maximum potential enables decentralisation of immunisation programme information systems, improved protection of vaccine safety and vaccination data, and tracking/management of the whole vaccine distribution process.

Additionally, the CCDC stated: “The integration of blockchain, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence in DVC systems enables the global economy to rebound and the cross-border movement of people to be facilitated.”

Thus, as part of his proposal to revitalise the global economy and facilitate cross-border travel, Wang Yi, China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister, suggested what he considered was a viable “Chinese response.” He aimed for reciprocal validation of the foreign travel health certificate and vaccination passport.

How the application would be implemented

It’s worth noting that processing speed and throughput are two factors limiting blockchain’s performance since collaborative vaccination information verification requires real-time data transmission.

For frequent out-of-block operations on on-chain data, the 5G network’s mobile process calculi divide a transaction into problem sets, with each node handling just the tiniest fraction of the transaction that meets its needs. Over time, little fragments join to produce larger fragments and, eventually, a complete transaction.

Additionally, the authors Zixiong Zhao and Jiaqi Ma observed that when integrated with blockchain technology, DVCs may be employed in a broad variety of applications; nonetheless, insecurity remains a concern.

“In short, merging blockchain with DVCs offers enormous promise for a variety of applications,” they said. “However, defending against malicious cyberattacks is a critical worry.”

Countries “should be encourag[ed]” to embrace blockchain technology

Finally, the CCDC underlines the need of the World Health Organization pushing for internationally trustworthy consortium blockchain protocols, consistent encryption techniques, smart contracts to add DVCs to blockchains for certification, as well as mutual agreement.

Finally, they think that governments should be encouraged to use open-source blockchain and networking technologies to ensure compliance with global application standards.

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