Gates Foundation Conducts Landscape Analysis of Vaccine Cold Chain Equipment Market

Raja Rao

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently conducted a landscape analysis of the market for cold chain equipment, in particular vaccine refrigerators and freezers. The analysis was based on extensive interviews with cold chain equipment experts, suppliers, and donors. The objectives were to assess the extent of current cold chain equipment challenges and the cost of fixing them, and to identify market-shaping opportunities and their potential impact on cold chain performance.

The analysis found that many GAVI Alliance countries lack the functional cold chain equipment they require, either because they do not possess the refrigerators and freezers they need, or because the equipment they do have does not function correctly. At national and regional levels, this has created bottlenecks affecting the introduction of new vaccines. The analysis highlights the importance of addressing these problems in order to reach routine immunization coverage targets in GAVI countries.

Other important findings of the report:

-Maximizing the impact of global investments in immunization programs will require a substantial increase in spending on cold chain equipment, from an estimated $70 million per year across GAVI today to around $175 million, based on current technologies and pricing.

-Procurement and funding for cold chain equipment are highly fragmented. This makes it a challenging market to manage for both manufacturers and procurers. Addressing this issue can help to make the market more efficient and can potentially help to reduce the price of some equipment.

-Some innovative cold chain technologies currently being developed could help improve the performance of the cold chain and reduce system costs. However, there is no consensus on the optimal characteristics for these products, nor is there a clear path to scale them up.

-Procurement and technology opportunities described above can help to reduce the total cold chain expenditure required to $125 million per year. However, this will still require an incremental $60 million in annual expenditure to address current cold chain equipment gaps.

The report provides more detail on these findings, as well as a broader analysis. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is now evaluating how to act on these findings and capture the opportunities identified. To do so, the Foundation will continue to seek the insights of a broad set of experts and stakeholders.

To request a copy of the analysis, or to provide your feedback or reflections, please contact Raja Rao (

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