As vaccine production continues to accelerate globally and distribution systems such as COVAX ramp up, many countries are finding that delivery – not supply – is now their chief challenge. In June this year, South Sudan was forced to destroy 59,000 vaccine doses, while the DRC has been forced to redistribute almost all of the 1.7 million doses it has received.
Going forward, the ability to get shots in arms quickly will be the determining factor in reopening economies and being able to live alongside the virus without disruptive measures and lockdown cycles. This is what we call the vaccine-absorption problem.
Our work assisting governments around the world has highlighted a key set of principles that outline how a country can establish the best-possible absorption capacity. We call these principles the four S’s: settings and supply chains; staffing and equipment; science and data; and strategic communications.
Our comprehensive guide, available here for download, sets out how the four S’s framework can provide an agile and holistic approach to building much-needed absorption capacity. Driven by our on-the-ground experience helping countries shape their vaccine strategies, we provide a toolkit that has been shared with our partner governments around the world and is offered here as an open resource.
A vaccinated world benefits everyone, and building smarter, properly funded vaccine distribution systems must be a global priority. Taken together, these recommendations not only offer a path out of the current crisis – they also show how, if handled correctly, Covid-19 could present an opportunity to put in place innovative, tech-centred measures that will benefit global health systems for years to come.
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