In order to inform site-selection for brand-specific influenza vaccine effectiveness (IVE) studies, knowledge of which influenza vaccine brands are procured and from where is of great interest. Vaccine procurement is a key determinant of brand availability. A team led by DRIVE WP3 members Anke Stuurman, Mendel Haag and Caterina Rizzo sought to understand how the procurement for seasonal influenza vaccine is organized in Europe, how this drives brand availability and how procurement data could determine brand availability ahead of the influenza season.

As a result of this research, the article “Investigating the procurement system for understanding seasonal influenza vaccine brand availability in Europe”, has recently been published in PLOS ONE journal.

To meet the research’s objectives, structured telephone interviews were conducted with 15 experts in 16 European countries between 2017 and 2019 to collect information on influenza vaccine procurement systems. Sources of (brand-specific) procurement data were identified and assessed on public accessibility. Vaccine type, brand availability and timelines were determined for the 2019–20 season to understand how procurement systems drive brand availability and diversity.

Four main types of procurement systems for seasonal influenza vaccination campaigns were identified: national public tenders, regional public tenders, direct purchase of vaccines by GPs and pharmacies from manufacturers, and wholesalers. The investigations also revealed that national public tender outcomes are publicly available and released in a timely fashion. Brand availability on a clinical level can generally be deduced or narrowed down to two brands. Regional tender outcomes are more difficult to find, known very late or not available. In some regions, tenders may be awarded only a few weeks before the seasonal campaign. No public procurement information is available for countries with direct purchase.

To read the full article and its conclusions find the publication here.