Forecast Report: Freeze-Safe Vaccine Carriers Modeling the Potential Global Market

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Each issue of this five-part publication series leverages PATH’s Installed Base and Forecasting Model to assess the potential global market for a specific cold chain equipment (CCE) innovation that can improve the storage, transportation, and delivery of vaccines in low-resource settings. This first issue focuses on freezesafe vaccine carriers.

With support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, PATH designed the Installed Base and Forecasting Model to understand and calculate existing and future CCE needs for all 73 Gavi-member countries. A straightforward analytical tool, the model can also assess existing and future CCE needs at regional and global levels.

All vaccines lose potency over time. As the rate of loss is temperature-dependent, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends vaccine products be transported and stored between 2°C and 8°C. Maintaining this range from the point of manufacture to the point of administration requires a temperature-controlled supply chain or cold chain—a global distribution network of equipment and procedures for sustaining product quality (potency) during transport, storage, and delivery.

The first cold chain and related supply and logistics systems were developed more than 30 years ago as part of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), a WHO initiative that originally aimed to immunize at least 90 percent of the world’s children against six deadly diseases. Since then, the EPI mandate has grown. EPI personnel in low- and middle-income countries are now working to accommodate nearly twice the number of vaccines as well as integrate a variety of essential medicines within their supply chains. Such increases reflect progress in product access and availability but are also straining supply systems.

Investments in CCE and system innovations have helped to facilitate improvements within some developing countries. In addition, multiple tools now exist to help public health program managers record equipment inventories or forecast needs. Yet the ability to understand and assess the global cold chain landscape has been lacking— until now.