Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

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Vaccine procurement

WHO/Garry Smith

Vaccine procurement is a complex process that requires specialized knowledge and experience to ensure the quality and sustainable, adequate and timely supply of vaccines. The procurement cycle involves a number of steps, from identifying needs, selecting products, and issuing tenders, to maintaining quality assurance, transporting vaccines, and monitoring the procurement process. These and other components influence access to and supply and price of a vaccine.

Careful balance of supply and demand

Because vaccines are biologics, and therefore cannot be generics, there is a high cost of entry costs for new manufacturers. There are only between one and five manufacturers for each specific product, with new vaccines often resulting in monopolies of supply.

Predictable and reliable demand is essential to ensure the timely delivery of vaccines and avoid “out-of-stock” scenarios.

Best procurement practices

Because different procurement methods can affect the price and timely access to vaccines, it is essential to develop strategies that meet the individual vaccine markets to achieve optimal results. Good procurement practices allow countries to accurately forecast, plan, finance, conduct and monitor their procurement systems.

Information about best procurement practices are available from UNICEF Supply Division, WHO, PAHO, and the World Bank. These organizations have a significant number of years of practical experience and have implemented rigorous procurement procedures.

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