The COVAX Allocation Algorithm for Vaccine Distribution

The logic underpinning the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines secured by The COVAX Facility

The COVAX Facility is using an allocation algorithm to distribute COVID-19 vaccines globally. The underlying logic determines how countries line up to receive vaccines in a period of acute scarcity when less than 250 million vaccine doses expected to be distributed among more than 7 billion people worldwide in the first half of 2021 through the Facility.

COVAX published its first round of allocations earlier this week that seeks to deliver 237 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to 142 countries.

According to WHO’s allocation mechanism, the first phase will aim for countries to receive doses covering the same proportion of their population over time. The initial goal is to reach a coverage of 3% of the population in countries and eventually extending vaccination up to 20% of the population.

We bring you an analysis on the assumptions in the algorithm and how it allocates vaccines among countries during the current first phase of the roll-out of the vaccines globally. The allocation algorithm follows the WHO allocation framework first released in September 2020.

WHO has explained how the allocation of COVAX vaccines is structured, why an algorithm is needed to allocate vaccines, when and how the algorithm is run, the logic of the algorithm, how it is optimised and the implications of pricing, timelines and delivery for vaccines. It also addresses aspects of governance, transparency and safety of data.

Image Credit: © UNICEF/UN0420494/Krishnan

Employees packing boxes with COVID-19 vaccine at the packaging and dispatch department in Pune, Maharashtra, India, on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Source: Gavi Website

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