The optimal number of routine vaccines to order at health clinics in low or middle income countries

Jayant Rajgopal, Diana L. Connor, Tina Marie Assi, Bryan A. Norman, Sheng-I Chen, Rachel R. Bailey, Adrienne R. Long, Angela R. Wateska, Kristina M. Bacon, Shawn T. Brown, Donald S. Burke, Bruce Y. Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In a low or middle income country, determining the correct number of routine vaccines to order at a health clinic can be difficult, especially given the variability in the number of patients arriving, minimal vaccination days and resource (e.g., information technology and refrigerator space) constraints. We developed a spreadsheet model to determine the potential impact of different ordering policies, basing orders on the arrival rates seen in the previous 1, 3, 6, or 12 sessions, or on long-term historical averages (where these might be available) along with various buffer stock levels (range: 5-50%). Experiments varied patient arrival rates (mean range: 1-30 per session), arrival rate distributions (Poisson, Normal, and Uniform) and vaccine vial sizes (range: 1-dose to 10-dose vials). It was found that when the number of doses per vial is small and the expected number of patients is low, the ordering policy has a more significant impact on the ability to meet demand. Using data from more prior sessions to determine arrival rates generally equates to a better ability to meet demand, although the marginal benefit is relatively small after more than 6 sessions are averaged. As expected, the addition of more buffer is helpful in obtaining better performance; however, this advantage also has notable diminishing returns. In general, the long-term demand rate, the vial sizes of the vaccines used and the method of determining the patient arrival rate all have an effect on the ability of a clinic to maximize the demand that is met.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5512-5518
Number of pages7
Issue number33
StatePublished - 26 Jul 2011


  • Logistics
  • Ordering
  • Vaccines

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