Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine: A global assessment of demand and supply balance
Over the past decade, several countries across all regions, income groups and procurement methods have been unable to secure sufficient BCG vaccine supply. While the frequency of stock-outs has remained rather stable, duration increased in 2014–2015 due to manufacturing issues and attracted the attention of national, regional and global immunization stakeholders. This prompted an in-depth analysis of supply and demand dynamics aiming to characterize supply risks. This analysis is unique as it provides a global picture, where previous analyses have focused on a portion of the market procuring through UN entities. Through literature review, supplier interviews, appraisal of shortages, stock-outs and historical procurement data, and through demand forecasting, this analysis shows an important increase in global capacity in 2017: supply is sufficient to meet forecasted BCG vaccine demand and possibly buffer market shocks. Nevertheless, risks remain mainly due to supply concentration and limited investment in production process improvements, as well as inflexibility in demand. Identification of these market risks will allow implementation of risk-mitigating interventions in three areas: (1) enhancing information sharing between major global health actors, countries and suppliers, (2) identifying interests and incentives to expand product registration and investment in the BCG manufacturing process, and (3) working with countries for tighter vaccine management.