Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent the outbreak of an infectious disease. This medical intervention also brings about many logistical questions. In recent years, in the Operations Research/Operations Management community there is growing interest in the logistical aspects of vaccination. However, publications on this topic are somewhat scattered: most papers focus on particular logistical aspects only and a broad overview is missing. This potentially leads to contributions being overlooked and makes it difficult to identify open research questions.
In this literature review we use a supply chain perspective and propose a classification for the literature on vaccine logistics in order to structure this relatively new field and highlight promising research directions. Thereto we distinguish between the following four components:
(1) composition,
(2) production,
(3) allocation and
(4) distribution.
We use this classification to derive the unique characteristics of the vaccine supply chain. We find that the vaccine supply chain can among others be characterized by high uncertainty in both supply and demand; asymmetry between supplier, public health organization and end customer; complex political decisions concerning allocation and the crucial importance of deciding and acting in time. Our review yields a framework for Operations Research/Operations Management research in vaccine logistics. Based on this framework we discuss for each component in the vaccine supply chain the related decision problems, the current status and future research possibilities.

Additional Metadata
Keywords vaccine, supply chain, logistics, public health, global health
Persistent URL
Series Econometric Institute Research Papers
Westerink-Duijzer, L.E, van Jaarsveld, W.L, & Dekker, R. (2017). Literature Review - the vaccine supply chain (No. EI2017-01). Econometric Institute Research Papers. Retrieved from