Vaccine procurement describes the process of acquiring vaccines domestically or internationally, using specific procurement procedures and/or mechanisms.
The objective of vaccine procurement is to receive products of assured quality at affordable prices in a timely manner, making it possible to optimize immunization programme performance and reduce mortality and morbidity caused by vaccine preventable diseases.
Vaccine procurement is a highly specialized field that differs from the procurement of other drugs and pharmaceuticals. First, vaccines are administered to healthy children and commonly provided free from the government, making vaccine quality and safety a paramount concern. Second, there are relatively few vaccine manufacturers and suppliers. Currently, only 25 manufacturers export significant quantities of vaccines prequalified by WHO. Third, vaccine production requires a long lead-time. Assuming production capacity is available, it takes between 6 to 24 months from the time demand is confirmed and the vaccine is delivered.
Effective vaccine procurement requires a solid understanding of procurement mechanisms and systems, vaccine market dynamics, and the elements of vaccine pricing:
Different procurement mechanisms can affect the price and timely access to vaccines. Countries that procure their vaccines directly from suppliers have complete autonomy over the vaccine selection, pricing, and delivery process. Alternatively, countries that choose to delegate vaccine procurement to mechanisms such as the PAHO Revolving Fund (for countries and territories in the Americas) or UNICEF Supply Division, benefit from the advantages of large procurement pools. Another option is to collaborate with other countries to build a regional procurement process. This page describes direct-country procurement and pooled-procurement options and provides links to resources and training tools on vaccine procurement.
The vaccine market involves a number of manufacturers located in both developing and industrialized countries, supplying an increasingly diverse array of vaccine products. While sales to high-income countries generate the largest revenues from vaccines, sales to middle- and lower-income countries represent the largest volume of vaccines sold. This page provides an overview of the vaccine market and links to additional resources related to specific vaccine markets.
Vaccine pricing is becoming increasingly complex and multidimensional at a global level and in certain country contexts. Contracts now include elements such as assured volumes, upfront payment, multiyear contracts, bundling of products, discounts and rebates, etc. These conditions make it more difficult to identify the actual price of a vaccine and to disaggregate all price components.
The WHO Vaccine Product, Price and Procurement (V3P) project has been designed to facilitate the appropriate comparison of price information and to provide countries with accurate, reliable and useful data on vaccine product, price and procurement. The project has developed an information mechanism in the public domain that provides reliable, accurate and un-biased information on vaccine price components, allowing for increased price transparency in procurement processes and more informed decision making for the implementation of vaccine introductions.