How vaccine companies
support access at key points
in the supply chain

Manufacturing & Supply

GSK and Sanofi score highest. Both demonstrate strong processes and commitments to help ensure vaccine production meets demand. They further support global vaccine supply through capacity building in manufacturing. The two companies have also implemented vaccine presentations and packaging that help to overcome local access barriers (e.g., vaccines that are easier for health workers to administer).


To achieve their full potential, immunisation programmes must be effectively implemented. National as well as international stakeholders share the same goal here: an uninterrupted supply of high-quality vaccines, from the manufacturer to the clinic, school or home. This shared interest requires cooperation and coordination at each step of the vaccine supply chain: implementation can be hindered by many factors, including insufficient vaccine supply, inadequate distribution systems and limited local capacity to store, handle and administer vaccines.

What the Index measures

In this chapter, the Access to Vaccines Index examines six companies’ activities in relation to the manufacture and supply of vaccines: GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. Inc., Pfizer, Sanofi and Serum Institute of India.

The Index examines the following areas:

  1. Aligning supply and demand: the steps and processes companies use that help prevent vaccine shortages.
  2. Capacity building: companies’ capacity building activities in countries in scope for vaccine manufacturing.
  3. Distribution and administration: how companies have adapted or developed vaccine presentations, packaging and delivery technologies that help simplify distribution and administration.


Vaccine companies are taking an active role to align global supply and demand, and there are clear indications that potential vaccine shortages are being proactively detected, mitigated and in some cases prevented: companies generally implement multiple processes or take steps internally to improve supply and demand alignment; many also make commitments around continuing supply. Providing further support to global vaccine, companies are building vaccine manufacturing capacity in some countries in scope: a relatively small range of middle-income countries with established vaccine production capacities. This reflects the need for favourable workforce and market conditions. Looking at individual products, all companies take steps to ensure vaccines have packaging, presentations or features intended to help overcome barriers to access on the ground.

While companies are taking steps at various levels of the supply chain to help improve access to vaccines, the existence of ongoing shortages, barriers to entry to vaccine manufacturing in low- and middle-income countries, and limited consideration of local barriers for some vaccines’ presentations and packaging, shows that more needs to be done. There is a role here for vaccine companies and other stakeholders to work together to continuously assess the most critical access-to-vaccines issues and respond with strategic and sustainable solutions that meet the needs of low- and middle-income country immunisation programmes.