Economic benefits of sharing and redistributing influenza vaccines when shortages occurred

Sheng-I Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Recurrent influenza outbreak has been a concern for government health institutions in Taiwan. Over 10% of the population is infected by influenza viruses every year, and the infection has caused losses to both health and the economy. Approximately three million free vaccine doses are ordered and administered to high-risk populations at the beginning of flu season to control the disease. The government recommends sharing and redistributing vaccine inventories when shortages occur. While this policy intends to increase inventory flexibility, and has been proven as widely valuable, its impact on vaccine availability has not been previously reported. Material and methods: This study developed an inventory model adapted to vaccination protocols to evaluate government recommended polices under different levels of vaccine production. Demands were uncertain and stratified by ages and locations according to the demographic data in Taiwan. Results: When vaccine supply is sufficient, sharing pediatric vaccine reduced vaccine unavailability by 43% and overstock by 54%, and sharing adult vaccine reduced vaccine unavailability by 9% and overstock by 15%. Redistributing vaccines obtained greater gains for both pediatrics and adults (by 75%). When the vaccine supply is in short, only sharing pediatric vaccine yielded a 48% reduction of unused inventory, while other polices do not improve performances. Conclusions: When implementing vaccination activities for seasonal influenza intervention, it is important to consider mismatches of demand and vaccine inventory. Our model confirmed that sharing and redistributing vaccines can substantially increase availability and reduce unused vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0186418
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

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