Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

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Product characteristics

The number of available World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified vaccine presentations has increased nearly four-fold over the last decade as new vaccines such as pentavalent, pneumococcal, rotavirus, Human Papillomavirus, and meningococcal A conjugate vaccines are introduced in countries worldwide. The same vaccine type may be produced in multiple presentations, including different formulations (e.g. liquid, lyophilised, or liquid-lyophilised) and number of doses per vial, with differing thermostability, cold chain requirement, unit price, and other characteristics.

In selecting vaccine products, countries face numerous programmatic and cost considerations that are impacted by vaccine product specifications such as doses per vial, time required to deliver a dose, immunization schedule, storage and transport requirements, as well as cold chain volume requirements. With the current array of product attributes, the selection of vaccines should not be based on price alone. Improving access to product information is essential to determine the vaccine product that is best suited to programmatic needs, capacities and constraints.

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