Assessing Country Readiness for COVID-19 Vaccines – First Insights from the Assessment Rollout

The global COVID-19 vaccination campaign will be the largest in history. The delivery of

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 03rd Mar, 2021. A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine during the first phase of the country nationwide vaccination drive at the Hospital UiTM in Sungai Buloh, outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Credit: SO

COVID-19 vaccines presents challenges unprecedented in scale, speed and specificities, especially in low- and middleincome countries. In November 2020, anticipating the availability of safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19, the World  Bank together with WHO, UNICEF, the Global Fund, and Gavi rolled out readiness assessments in more than 100 low and middle-income countries.


  1. As countries ramp up efforts to vaccinate their populations against the deadly COVID-19 disease, the world’s poorest countries show varying degrees of readiness for this massive undertaking.
  2. The existence of well-functioning child immunization systems is not a strong predictor of country readiness to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. 
  3. Most countries are focusing on strengthening essential aspects of the vaccine delivery chain –enough to advance vaccination schedules and begin inoculating their populations. 
  4. Few countries are using the opportunity provided by the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines to strengthen health systems and find long-lasting solutions for similar future challenges
  5. COVID-19 vaccination campaigns offer unique opportunities for countries to digitize their information systems for tracking vaccines and monitoring vaccinations
  6. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is an opportunity to create environmentally friendly cold chain that could be of use well beyond the current crisis
  7. More countries are using indicative topdown methodologies instead of the new assessment framework and associated tools to cost gaps in readiness