Only Adding Stationary Storage to Vaccine Supply Chains May Create and Worsen Transport Bottlenecks

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Abstract

Although vaccine supply chains in many countries require additional stationary storage and transport capacity to meet current and future needs, international donors tend to donate stationary storage devices far more often than transport equipment. To investigate the impact of only adding stationary storage equipment on the capacity requirements of transport devices and vehicles, we used HERMES (Highly Extensible Resource for Modeling Supply Chains) to construct a discrete event simulation model of the Niger vaccine supply chain. We measured the transport capacity requirement for each mode of transport used in the Niger vaccine cold chain, both before and after adding cold rooms and refrigerators to relieve all stationary storage constraints in the system. With the addition of necessary stationary storage, the average transport capacity requirement increased from 88% to 144% for cold trucks, from 101% to 197% for pickup trucks, and from 366% to 420% for vaccine carriers. Therefore, adding stationary storage alone may worsen or create new transport bottlenecks as more vaccines flow through the system, preventing many vaccines from reaching their target populations. Dynamic modeling can reveal such relationships between stationary storage capacity and transport constraints.

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