Researchers from University of Birmingham, Heriot-Watt University, Brac University, and BUET are working on assessing and developing a vaccine cold-chain for rapid and mass immunization for COVID-19 in Bangladesh.
The team from Brac University comprises Dr. Farzana Munshi, Professor of Economics, and Ahsan Senan, Lecturer of Economics, both from the Department of Economics and Social Sciences. The on-going project will run from August 2020 to February 2022. The project is supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
Mass vaccination for COVID-19 will need to deliver vaccines to people globally at scale and speed never before considered. Bangladesh has one of the world's largest pharmaceutical and vaccine industries, with a vaccination framework supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, like many countries, it still lacks the capacity to deliver unprecedented, fast-track mass vaccination.
Project developer Toby Peters, Professor of Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham, commented: “Bangladesh is confronted with a difficult challenge of protecting their people and sustaining the economy. Rapid and efficient mass vaccination is the only way forward, making our upcoming work critical - not just for Bangladesh, but many other countries across the Global South. Sustainable cold-chain development will support Bangladesh’s economy and help to support existing immunisation and cold-chain programmes as well as a COVID-19 vaccine. More importantly, this work will help create a blueprint and model for an efficient delivery mechanism to ensure that the vaccine will be provided globally.”
Co-Investigator Professor Farzana Munshi, of Brac University, commented: “Vaccination of COVID-19 will require a new fast-track approach to assess, re-engineer, and build out the cold-chain logistics assets. This project will assist policy-makers in designing policies on the most sustainable interventions on medical supply chain at regional, national scale for COVID-19 but also other potential future natural disasters and epidemics."
The team is trying to design the right system to meet the challenge in the most sustainable and financially efficient way for Bangladesh. Researchers will assess different intervention scenarios for mass COVID-19 vaccination, providing Bangladesh’s policy makers with critical information and proposals that will help shape the country’s immunisation strategies and priorities.