4 ways to improve global COVID-19 vaccine distribution

The world needs to reassess its current COVID-19 vaccination strategy to accelerate manufacturing and more equitably distribute vaccine supplies globally, two experts wrote in an article published May 6 in Harvard Business Review.

The article's authors are:

  • Prashant Yadav, PhD, affiliate professor at Fontainebleau, France-based business school INSEAD and fellow at the Center for Global Development, a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, D.C.

  • Rebecca Weintraub, MD, faculty director of the Global Health Delivery Project at Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard University.

The authors pointed to economic models of vaccine manufacturing showing that many countries won't achieve broad vaccination coverage until late 2022 because of inefficiencies and bottlenecks in vaccine manufacturing and distribution. 

"As long as large populations around the world remain unvaccinated, variants of the virus will continue to emerge, including some that might be able to evade existing vaccines," they said, adding that global vaccination is the only way to end the pandemic.

In the article, Drs. Yadav and Weintraub outline four strategies to expand the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines:

  1. Improve the flow of vaccine raw materials.

  2. Harmonize the drug regulatory processes in each country.

  3. Boost vaccine manufacturing capacity by offering vaccine makers advanced purchase agreements, capacity subsidies and grants, among other incentives.

  4. Create a supply chain infomediary to serve as a centralized repository of global supply and demand data.

"We cannot let national policies impede the expansion of vaccine manufacturing capacity and the equitable distribution of vaccines globally," they wrote. "Addressing supply chain bottlenecks and sustainably expanding manufacturing capacity around the world will not only help address immediate needs but will also ensure that the world is much better prepared to combat the next pandemic."

To view the full article, click here.


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