Tech Needed to Make

Due to the fact that chemistry is above our pay grade, we’re going to join this process already in progress. After the vaccine is successfully made from dead viruses or Messenger RNA (whatever that is) our story picks up.

Artificial Intelligence

It monitors the health and speed of the machines actually producing vials of the vaccine. It allows the machines to be run right up to the breaking point. (1)

Tech Needed to Distribute

Cold Chain Distribution

This basically means how a company monitors the transport of vaccines that need to stay cold to prevent spoiling. A piece of software called

Lynx uses machine learning, IoT, and analytics capabilities from AWS to improve:

  • Logistics performance
  • Diagnostics and prognostics
  • Fleet optimization
  • Operations cost optimization

Companies also are using RFID tags to track the position and condition of individual vials of COVID-19 vaccinations. Global life science company MilliporeSigma has a platform that combines RFID labels, a mobile app, and a secure web interface to track open and expiration dates (1)

AWS is Amazon Web Services and is the technology used to host a website, or in this case a web application.

IoT is Internet of Things, in this case is sensors attached to the the trucks and such that report back to the Lynx platform without any human intervention. It also includes RFID (radio frequency identification) tags mentioned above.

Tech Needed to Administer

Data Entry

There’s a lot of paperwork involved in registering people for appointments, taking down their information, giving the dose, monitoring any side effects, scheduling a follow-up. Most of it is very repetitive aka boring. Bored humans make mistakes.

Tufts Medical Center in Boston uses Olive [software] to automate high-volume data entry and patient screening tasks. The technology makes the in-person testing process up to seven and a half times faster and reduces enough manual data entry to lower testing time by 86%, according to the company. (1)

Ultracold Freezer

Rows of the Ultracold Freezers used to store the COVID-19 Vaccine

Sounds like a Super-villain name. But because the Pfizer vaccines need to be pretty dang cold, they go as low as -114F (2), they need these bad boys to store the doses until they’re administered.

Tech Needed for Appointments


While there is sometimes a number to call, it’s much more efficient to book appointments booked online. Confirmations are sent either via text or email. Which is problematic, especially during phase 1; 75 and older; since they’re the most likely demographic to not have tech still.

But even if they do, the websites are being overloaded with requests. For example Chicago’s rollout was a little bit popular. It had

1.9 million hits in the first hour and more than 3,400 appointments were booked in the first 35 minutes. At its peak, the website had 65,810 hits in a single minute, according to CCDPH.[Cook County Department of Public Health] (3)

To put those number is perspective, this site got just a smidge over 242,000 hits in all of 2020.

To try to book an appointment here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: this is your website:

But some vaccination sites, like MGH and BWH, have stopped taking appointments so be patient, and stay stafe!

One final note on appointments, a woman in Arlington took it upon herself to create a better website!

Food for Thought

This is usually a spot for technology trivia and in a way it still is, because the development of vaccinations is a technology, just not in the way we normally think about it. And it’s got a long history.

According to some sources rudimentary vaccines were happening in China as early as 200 BCE. For more details on the history of vaccines, check out this timeline put together by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia:

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