An integer programming model for vaccine procurement and delivery for childhood immunization: a pilot study


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Abstract

The National Immunization Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified several challenges that must be faced in childhood immunization programs to deliver and procure vaccines to protect against the common preventable diseases. The biomedical challenge is how to combine and formulate products to take advantage of new vaccines without requiring additional injections. A programmatic challenge is to incorporate them into already crowded immunization schedules. The economic challenge is to make wise procurement choices from among a growing number of competing products. This paper reports the results of a pilot study using operations research methodologies to address the third of these challenges. The pilot is an integer programming model for procuring vaccines for a set of childhood diseases. The model is studied under various scenarios (minimum total cost, next lowest total cost, maximum total cost, minimum total cost with all manufacturers represented). The results of this pilot study demonstrate how a practical set of operations research tools can be developed to guide vaccine selection and procurement, which might stimulate the development of innovations in new vaccines to meet the challenges of disease control through immunization.

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