Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Economic benefits of keeping vaccines at ambient temperature during mass vaccination: the case of meningitis A vaccine in Chad

Patrick Lydon, Simona Zipursky, Carole Tevi-Benissan, Mamoudou Harouna Djingarey, Placide Gbedonou, Brahim Oumar Youssouf & Michel Zaffran

Objective

To evaluate the potential economic benefits of keeping a meningitis A vaccine at or near ambient temperature for up to 4 days during a mass vaccination campaign.

Methods

During a 10-day mass vaccination campaign against meningitis A in three regions of Chad in 2011, the costs associated with storage and transport of the vaccine in a traditional cold chain system were evaluated. A mathematical model was used to estimate the savings that could have been achieved if the vaccine had been stored at or near ambient temperature – in a “controlled temperature” chain – at the peripheral levels of the supply chain system.

Findings

The cost of the cold chain and associated logistics used in the campaign in Chad was 0.24 United States dollars (US$) per person vaccinated. In the modelled scenario for a controlled temperature chain, however, these costs dropped by 50% and were estimated to be only US$ 0.12 per person vaccinated.

Conclusion

The implementation of a “controlled temperature” chain at the most peripheral levels of the supply chain system – assuming no associated loss of vaccine potency, efficacy or safety – could result in major economic benefits and allow vaccine coverage to be extended in low-resource settings.

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