Vaccine, Device and Cold Chain Forecasting is the first step in ensuring adequate immunization supplies and is the foundation of Vaccine Security. The accuracy of the forecast is important - underestimating the requirements results in vaccine shortages, overestimating results in excess stock - increasing the manufacturers' costs, which in turn increases the cost to UNICEF.
The goal of vaccine forecasting is to estimate the quantity of goods and financial needs necessary to conduct immunization programmes. The value of the forecast depends on the accuracy - taking into consideration the type of vaccine, the presentation (vial size), the quantity and the timing of delivery of the vaccine. Poor forecasting may result in delays or shortfalls in delivery, additional costs, and reduces UNICEF credibility with manufacturers.
The formal UNICEF Vaccine Forecast is carried out annually, covering a five year period. Country Offices are required to provide their inputs on the Vaccine Forecast Spreadsheet, in conjunction with partners in country, and submit the forecast to Supply Division where the forecast is reviewed. Additional information relating to campaign activities is received from Programme Division and WHO and this is combined with Country Office forecasts and reviewed against funding levels and historical actuals to determine the Supply Division forecast that is issued to manufacturers.
UNICEF makes a final comparison between availability and timing from manufacturers and country forecasts and then issues Provisional Plans Country Offices indicating the planned delivery schedule, timing and amount of funds required, the source of the vaccines and devices and cold chain weight and volume requirement information.
Throughout the year the forecast demand requirements are monitored and followed up by Supply Division with each country. Suppliers are informed of changes to the forecast demand requirements on a monthly basis. Effective forecasting is not an event - it is an ongoing process.
Vaccine Forecast Spreadsheet
The forecast spreadsheet is issued jointly by Supply Division and Programme Division. The spreadsheet plus instructions for its completion in English and French are attached.
For any further queries please contact the Vaccine Centre at Supply Division.