Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Ideal supply systems for the future

Achieving the 2020 global vision for immunization supply and logistics systems

Immunization programs today are embarking on a period of unprecedented growth. New vaccines are being introduced and strategies to reach new target groups are being deployed. At the same time, other health programs are expanding their work and setting up their own supply chains to distribute commodities such as bednets; condoms; antiretroviral drugs; medications for reproductive health, tuberculosis, and malaria; micronutrients; and reagents for diagnostic assays.

The vaccine supply and logistics systems used in most countries were developed thirty years ago. It is now essential to put in place the necessary improvements and technologies in supply systems to deliver valuable products safely, effectively, and efficiently, so that existing and new vaccines and other health commodities reach the people who need them. It is also important that the vaccine products that flow through these systems are optimized for the contexts in which they will be shipped, stored, and used.

Under the auspices of the Cold Chain and Logistics Task Force led by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with a temporary secretariat housed at project Optimize, a broad group of partners and stakeholders including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), industry, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, GAVI Alliance members, and national governments developed a common vision for the future of immunization supply systems. This vision statement detailed below is meant to form a platform behind which key partners at all levels—country, regional, and global—can align their work and efforts.

Vision statement: By 2020, state-of-the-art supply systems meet the changing needs of a changing world in order to enable the right vaccines to be in the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities, in the right condition, at the right cost.

Stakeholders described five priority areas that must be strengthened before the vision can be achieved. These five areas and the desired state for each area are described below:

  • Vaccine products and packaging
  • Immunization supply system efficiency
  • Environmental impact of immunization supply systems
  • Immunization information systems
  • Human resources for immunization logistics