Global efforts to produce and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine continue to race ahead. But in many cases, that race is an uphill climb. Beyond the challenges in making enough of the vaccine, educating the public, and the logistics of distributing the doses, there is a new challenge. Bots.
In recent weeks, people have shared horror stories of attempting to secure vaccination appointments. Some blame bots for site crashes and stolen slots. Retailers have ample experience battling bots to protect inventory and brand reputation. But the idea of scalpers attempting to disrupt vaccine distribution is a more severe criminal enterprise. It could become a matter of life and death.
Bots pose a twofold threat. First to the retailers that administer the vaccine. Then to the pharmacies, healthcare providers, and state and local governments coordinating distribution. News reports have called for improvements to call center and vaccination registration websites. This is despite IT teams already working to compress months of work down to days or weeks. Adding bot detection and challenge frameworks threatens to compound the complexity.
Throughout the pandemic, Akamai has worked with our customers to minimize disruptions. We have ensured availability and scale for government agencies. In the U.S., we assist beneficiaries of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with performance optimizations and virtual waiting rooms. Now, as the threat of bots disrupting an already challenging situation intensifies, we are adding our bot mitigation expertise to support the vaccination efforts as well.
Akamai has developed a solution called Vaccine Edge to help retailers and government institutions. Vaccine Edge provides scalability, DDoS mitigation, application security, performance optimizations, and virtual waiting room capability. We have successfully deployed the solution to several state and local government sites, and we are committed to supporting any effort to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information on Vaccine Edge, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.