Compared to routine immunization, a SARS-CoV-2 vaccination campaign would increase monthly doses administered when targeting risk groups: ≥65 years (29.9%), chronic diseases patients (101.5%), and healthcare workers (1.2%). SARS-CoV-2 vaccination campaigns would increase doses administered per vaccinator for risk groups: ≥65 years (32.5%), chronic diseases patients (110.4%), or healthcare workers (1.4%). Routine vaccine volumes already exceed national level storage capacity for at least 75% of African Region countries, but subnational levels would have sufficient storage capacity for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in all but the lower 25% of African Region countries.
After SARS-CoV-2 vaccines become available, they will be deployed to many countries with limited immunization systems.
We conducted a cold chain capacity assessment of a simulated country in the WHO African Region. We combined region-specific data regarding immunization, population, healthcare workforce, and cold storage capacity (upper and lower range and quartile values for national and subnational levels). We used seasonal influenza vaccines as proxies for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. We evaluated the increase in vaccine doses to be administered, doses administered per vaccinator, and cold storage volumes for SARS-CoV-2 campaigns targeting risk groups compared to routine immunization baselines.
SARS-CoV-2 vaccination campaigns would substantially increase doses per vaccinator and cold chain capacity requirements over routine immunization baselines. Pandemic vaccination campaigns would add volume to national level stores already at their limits, but substantial capacity exists at subnational levels for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Immediate attention to strengthening delivery systems is essential to support pandemic vaccine responses in the African Region.