This article is part six in a series of explainers on vaccine development and distribution and was originally published on the World Health Organization’s website. Below is an excerpt.
Countries are beginning to deploy COVID-19 vaccines, bringing new hope to the fight against the global pandemic. WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and many other partners are working together to support countries in preparing for COVID-19 vaccine introduction. They have provided a COVID-19 vaccine introduction toolbox that has all the resources a country needs to get ready for delivering COVID-19 vaccines. Within this toolbox, training is available for national/subnational focal points and health workers to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills.
What is the process for countries to get COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility?
A total of 92 low- and middle-income economies will be able to access COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
These AMC 92 countries must develop a COVID-19 National Deployment and Vaccination Plans (NDVPs) which is reviewed by WHO, UNICEF and other partners to help the country be sure the plan is as good as it can be. NDVPs can be submitted through the Partners Platform.
Once a country’s NDVP is reviewed to ensure the key readiness criteria are met, they can be allocated vaccines through the COVAX Facility. Non-AMC countries are also welcome to submit their NDVP for review and receive feedback to strengthen their plan.
What is a National Deployment and Vaccination Plan?
A National Deployment and Vaccination Plan is an operational plan to implement and monitor COVID-19 vaccination rollout in a country. The NDVP serves as the “one-country plan” and main framework for a country’s vaccine introduction and vaccination efforts.
Why should countries develop a National Deployment and Vaccination Plan?
Developing an NDVP helps countries prepare for COVID-19 vaccination, identify resource needs and streamline the process for introducing vaccines. Once an NDVP is developed, countries work on its implementation, including the detailed planning of vaccine delivery strategies, logistics, HR and funding mobilization.
How will country readiness be assessed?
A review process has been set up to provide support and feedback to countries for improving and finalizing their plans. This ensures that a country’s NDVP includes the necessary elements to rapidly deploy vaccines and implement COVID-19 vaccination, and that any recommendations for improvement are addressed.
Once an AMC 92 participant submits its NDVP, a Regional Review Committee (RRC) assesses the plan and evaluates country preparedness and capacity for vaccine allocation, deployment and administration. Those participants with an NDVP that meets the standardized readiness assessment join the process for allocating COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility. Countries should take into account the recommendations from the review to further improve their preparedness for vaccine introduction.