GCRF_NF55 Fast-track vaccine cold-chain assessment and design for mass scale COVID-19 vaccination in Bangladesh (VaCoBD)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Chemical Engineering

Abstract

Universal vaccine access is an existing major challenge in low-income countries, mainly due to the lack of robust cold-chains, resulting in loss of potency for +25% of vaccines. Mass vaccination for COVID-19 globally will require a new fast-track approach to assess, re-engineer and build upon available cold-chain logistics assets and systems, to deliver the vaccines at scale and speed never before considered. We aim to evaluate the capacity and preparedness of the cold-chain framework of Bangladesh as a case study country for mass scale COVID-19 vaccination, and assist the policymakers in defining optimised, sustainable interventions and lasting legacy opportunities. Our objectives are: (1) evaluating the context and resilience of cold-chains and resources in Bangladesh, collecting primary data for a robust assessment of the cold chain capacity and gaps; (2) developing a bottom-up whole systems approach building upon existing logistics infrastructure, and distribution systems for mass scale COVID-19 vaccination including modal shifts; (3) developing a cost-benefit analysis framework for the bottom-up (vaccine) systems model; (4) assessing different intervention scenarios for mass-scale COVID-19 vaccination preparedness, and helping shape the country's immunisation strategies and priorities; (5) informing policymakers and other key stakeholders, including Monetary Financial Institutions about the cost-effective intervention alternatives for cold-chain development for mass-scale vaccination for COVID-19, which may be useful for future emergency or disasters; and (6) disseminating learnings to other countries, including methodology, to assess their requirements and to simulate best options for creating sustainable temperature-controlled supply-chains for health and medical supplies in epidemics and natural disasters.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The work has resulted in a significant output in the development of a model to automatically generate a deployment and distribution network of vaccines across a given geography, analysing the local transport system and available resources to identify the least-cost solution within a given mission target. The model self-selects and self-organises to the given scenario based on known constraints, assets and cost model of logistics. The project also has reports on social and institutional analysis of intervention scenarios, business models for private capital mobilisation and vaccine distribution capital budgeting cashflow model. These has generated keen interest among the stakeholders/policymakers in Bangladesh and they are keen to further develop and implement this for future vaccine cold-chain implementations.
Exploitation Route The outcomes and learnings will be disseminated to other countries, including methodology, to assess their requirements and to simulate best options for creating sustainable temperature-controlled supply-chains for health and medical supplies in epidemics and natural disasters.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Healthcare,Transport

 
Description The reports and outputs and our methodologies are being used by multi-national Agencies to plan their covid-19 response. We are also transferring knowledge to other projects - for example in Africa, the Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain. We are supporting NGOs and private sector groups in plannign covid-19 immunisation strategies.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Energy,Transport,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Building High-Level Support and National Capacities to enhance Climate and Ozone Protection through Cooling Efficiency
Amount $1,214,500 (USD)
Organisation United Nations (UN) 
Department United Nations Environment Programme
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Kenya
Start 07/2021 
End 03/2023
 
Description Clean and Energy Efficient Cooling for Livestock Supply Chains in Bangladesh
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation World Bank Group 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 03/2021 
End 10/2021
 
Description Sustainable Cold-Chain systems for food resilience
Amount £366,038 (GBP)
Organisation UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2021 
End 09/2022
 
Description Zero Emission Cold-Chain(ZECC) - Building the Road to Sustainable Cold-Chain Systems for Food Resilience
Amount £1,465,929 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/V042548/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2021 
End 05/2025
 
Title Business models for private capital mobilisation 
Description The report presents three innovative business models that are potentially applicable in easing the pressure of vaccine cold chain. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Using Bangladesh as a case study, the report shows that using a Cooling-as-a-Service (CaaS) model could provide a cost-effective solution for the Government of Bangladesh to achieve its Covid-19 vaccination deployment plan. 
 
Title SOCIAL AND INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS OF INTERVENTION SCENARIOS 
Description The report focuses on analysis the potential and preparedness of the vaccine delivery system, social and institutional barriers for delivery, inequality risks and protection of vulnerable groups across gender, income levels, age groups, and geographical areas (both urban and rural), and the requirement for human resources and training for vaccine delivery, data capture, monitoring process, and maintaining equipment. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This provides valuable insights for policymakers around financial allocations, overcoming challenges in transport infrastructure perhaps through investment in more cold trucks for vaccines, freeze tags, and updating old equipment and deep-freezers. The report would also recommend ramping up recruitment of trained staff for timely and proper vaccine delivery at the local level. 
 
Title The VaCOBD agent based model environment 
Description Model to automatically generate a deployment and distribution network of vaccines across a given geography, analysing the local transport system and available resources to identify the least-cost solution within a given mission target. Method self-selects and self-organises to the given scenario based on known constraints, assets and cost model of logistics 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Method discussed at length with Bangladeshi government policy advisers who were very interested and have requested further development and refinement to suit their needs 
 
Title Vaccine distribution Capital budgeting cashflow model 
Description This report projects the capital required for fulfilling the national vaccine deployment plan of Bangladesh using discounted cashflow model. Capital budgeting dataset which was sourced from literature, Bangladesh's national vaccine deployment plan and experts' interview 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This will allow policymakers in Bangladesh an independent resource to make policy decisions around capital financing of sustainable vaccine deployment programmes 
 
Description Presentation on 'Understanding cold-chain challenges for COVID-19 vaccination' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Bing XU and Dr Xinfang Wang made a presentation at the 12th International Conference on Applied Energy around the challenges of vaccine cold-chains and more specifically around Covid-19.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Research Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The research festival targets staff and students and features talks and panel discussions, providing opportunities for researcher development with Enterprise and the Research Engagement Directorate, and enhancing the research culture and community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description VaCOBD project roundtable with Bangladesh policymakers/stakeholders 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The purpose of the workshop/roundtable was to engage with policymakers and present to them with the model on building a resilient and sustainable Covid-19 vaccine cold-chain for a lasting positive legacy. Since the model was being developed by the Project with Bangladesh as a case study, the main stakeholder was the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS),Government of Bangladesh. Several key people from the DGHS attended the roundtable meeting and the discussion sparked questions and provided insights into the workings of the model and how it can be adapted to other developing countries to optimize their vaccination programmes. The participants also provided valuable inputs to improve the model and tailor it towards Bangladesh's needs. The outcome from this engagement was that DGHS is keen to continue their involvement in improving the model given the immense benefits it could bring to the Bangladesh vaccine programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Webinar on 'The COVID-19 vaccine supply chain: Overcoming the challenges and complexities' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The webinar was delivered to an audience comprising mainly of businesses to outline the complex journey of manufacturing a vaccine and explore the challenges in the cold chain logistics needed to deliver it. Prof Peters Toby Peters' talk focused on the distribution from factory door to patient, and the challenges inherent to keeping the vaccine at 2-8°C throughout - or at even lower temperatures as is the case with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The webinar encouraged the audience to better understand, amongst other things, the impacts of complex manufacturing, geographical location, scale of distribution as dependent on country government choices of vaccination programmes and data management to adequately track products in the supply chain.
This was followed by a question/answer session and a healthy discussion around the topic from those attending.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://events.imeche.org/ViewEvent?code=TLE7231
 
Description Webinar on 'Understanding the Cold-chain challenge for a COVID-19 vaccine' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The webinar organised by the British High Commission in collaboration with UNICEF, WHO, Ministry of Health of Bangladesh, the University of Birmingham and BRAC University, 19 Nov 2020 (Toby Peters, Farzana Munshi, Ijaz Hossain). The purpose was to reach an audience of policy makers within Bangladesh, highlight the challenges of delivering vaccines in Bangladesh specific to Covid-19 and to raise awareness of the cold-chain infrastructure requirement for successful and rapid delivery of vaccines in-country.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.facebook.com/BRACUniversity/posts/the-british-high-commission-in-bangladesh-in-collabora...
 
Description Workshop on 'Fast-track vaccine cold-chain assessment and design for mass scale COVID-19 vaccination in Bangladesh' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Prof Peters and Dr Bing Xu presented this project to the audience and spoke about the objectives and how the outcomes from this project will be used to feed in to policy around vaccination cold-chains in Bangladesh and how the learnings can be disseminated to other countries to create sustainable temperature-controlled supply-chains for health and
medical supplies in epidemics and natural disasters.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020