Delivering COVID-19 vaccines has posed unprecedented challenges in terms of delivery volume, reaching new target populations, diversity of delivery strategies, and sometimes complex product profiles—elements which must all be managed rapidly in order to achieve effective coverage.
Countries have had to adapt delivery strategies due to the gaps in vaccine supply and reach different priority target populations. In order to plan and budget for future phases of vaccine delivery for COVID-19 or a potential future pandemic vaccine, an accurate understanding of the costs and operational considerations associated with the vaccination program so far is urgently needed.
ThinkWell is conducting costing studies of COVID-19 vaccine delivery in Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Mozambique, the Philippines, Uganda, and Vietnam to generate economic evidence to the support the sustainable rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and help governments plan for future vaccine delivery.
In each country, bottom-up ingredients-based costing studies are being conducted in collaboration with local research institutions to estimate the cost of delivering COVID-19 vaccines through various delivery strategies, reaching different target populations, and using products with varying cold chain requirements. The studies are also mapping out the service delivery process and funding flows, and capturing the source and use of different types of paid and volunteer health workers mobilized to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. Semi-structured interviews are being conducted with stakeholders to assess the rollout and its challenges.
ThinkWell has developed a general research protocol for the country studies to describe the generalized approach, scope, methods, and expected outputs. While recognizing that the diverse range of vaccine rollout modalities will require tailored research approaches in each of the countries, this general research protocol is aimed at ensuring comparability across countries and facilitating cross-country learnings. Preliminary results were presented at the IHEA 2023 Immunization Economics Pre-Congress in July 2023, and you can see below for more information and findings from each country when available.
In Côte d’Ivoire, Genesis Analytics and ThinkWell implemented the costing study, with a team from Université Felix Houphouet Boigny collecting data on the cost of delivering COVID-19 vaccines from March to May 2022. The study found a relatively low financial cost for delivering vaccines in 2022 (US$0.67 per dose delivered) which likely reflected a lack of funding rather than low financial requirements to support vaccination. The higher economic cost (US$3.16 per dose delivered) highlights the important role of both existing paid staff as well as volunteers. Read the full study report here and see the poster presented at the IHEA 2023 Immunization Economics Pre-Congress.
ThinkWell worked with the Hanoi University of Public Health in Vietnam to estimate the cost of delivering COVID-19 vaccines in 2021. The financial cost was found to be low at US$0.59 per dose delivered, though this masked shortages in staffing and other resources that the vaccination program had to work around. Limited investments to expand capacity for the rollout meant that a significant burden was placed on the existing health system resources. Read the full study report here and see the poster presented at the IHEA 2023 Immunization Economics Pre-Congress.