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Cold chain and supplies

© UNICEF/SouthSudan/Pflanz
A health worker administers a vaccination to a wincing boy in Upper Nile State, South Sudan – where UNICEF, World Food Programme and NGO partners launched a rapid response mission in 2014.

Keeping vaccines affordable around the world

UNICEF is the world’s largest buyer of childhood vaccines, reaching over one third of the world’s children. By forecasting demand, encouraging competition and engaging with manufacturers, UNICEF secures lower prices and maintains a constant supply of essential vaccines to the children who need them most. 

In 2013, the value of UNICEF’s vaccine procurement reached nearly $1.3 billion – that’s 2.8 billion vaccine doses for children in 100 countries, including:

  • 1.7 billion oral polio vaccines
  • 300 million doses of measles vaccines 180 million doses of pentavalent vaccines (A five in one vaccine against Hib (Haemophilus Influenza type B), pertussis, tetanus, diphtheria and Hepatitis B), and
  • A wide range of other vaccines for children against tuberculosis, tetanus, diphtheria, rubella, Hib, hepatitis B, human papilloma virus, influenza, polio, meningitis A, pneumococcal disease, rabies, rotavirus and yellow fever.

Managing supply chains

Vaccines need to be kept in a narrow temperature range from the point of manufacture to their use in an immunization session. This is called the “cold chain” which is crucial to vaccine supply chains.

UNICEF invests in cold and supply chain infrastructure and management to improve the conditions in which vaccines and other lifesaving health commodities are delivered. These investments, including the introduction of temperature monitoring technologies, reduce vaccine stock-outs and enhance information systems for more accurate monitoring. UNICEF also helps establish the use of solar power, mobile technology and biometrics to safely get the right vaccines to the right places at the right time.

Stronger supply chain systems mean not only immunizing more children, but also improving the health system as a whole.




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