Cold Chain Equipment Optimisation Platform

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New cold chain support platform will help countries modernise cold chains with high-performing equipment – a vital building block towards delivering vaccines more equitably, the full length of the cold chain.

Cold Chain Equipment

Nurse removed vaccines from solar fridge ready for immunisation session in Mbankana village, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gavi / 2015

Gavi’s Cold Chain Equipment (CCE) Optimisation Platform commits an initial US$50 million to jointly invest with countries to upgrade to high-performing and well-maintained cold chain technologies.

The initiative will help countries improve the efficiency and safety of vaccines by increasing their cold chain equipment’s operating time, reducing running costs and improving temperature control.

In addition, new passive cooling technologies will extend the geographic coverage of the cold chain. For the first time, this will enable remote health facilities with no access to the electricity grid to store vaccines appropriately – a crucial step to increasing sustainable immunisation coverage and equity.


Gavi's CCE Platform will support up to 90,000 facilities around the world to upgrade with the best and most appropriate equipment, and a further 45,000 facilities to be equipped for the very first time.   


Gavi’s Cold Chain Equipment (CCE) Optimisation Platform helps countries make the right design and economic choices when they invest in upgrading their cold chain equipment:

equipmentUpgrade and extend equipment

The Platform offers countries access to modern, high-performing equipment capable of making their cold chains more efficient. Here are some examples of the new technology available through the Platform:

  • Fridges that keep vaccines cool even if power fails for multiple days;
  • Solar-powered devices that do not need batteries;
  • New devices that lower the risk of accidental freezing of vaccines and help reduce closed vial wastage;
  • Remote temperature monitoring devices that automatically alert staff when fridges/freezers stop working. In some cases, the alert reaches the national cold chain maintenance;
  • Passive cooling devices capable of keeping vaccines at the appropriate temperature with ice for up to 35 days. Voltage regulators provide protection against power surges.

Eliminating just 1% of closed vial wastage will save estimated $10-13 million.

Vaccine carriers and cold boxes used by health workers to reach remote areas are also eligible for platform support. They are one of the primary means to reach under-served communities and increase coverage.

costLower lifetime cost of ownership

Equipment available for support through the CCE will help countries reduce running costs by reducing reliance on fuel like kerosene, replaceable solar batteries and ice-packs – all of which need replacing frequently.

If existing absorption fridges – fridges which use a heat source to provide the energy to drive the cooling process - are swapped for modern solar direct drive equipment, cold chains could save up to US$ 50 million over five years.

New devices are also more durable and require less maintenance and fewer spare parts. In addition, new accessories – such as voltage regulators – can also help raise the life expectancy of cold chain equipment.

Gavi’s support will also help cover the up-front cost of installing and maintaining the equipment – this also includes user training and spare parts.

By supporting more efficient equipment that is easier to maintain and providing user training in installation and repairs, the CCE will help lower the running costs of cold chain infrastructure and its reduce the lifetime cost of ownership.

joint investmentJoint investment in cost of equipment

The CCE aims to increase existing funding for cold chain equipment from bilateral donors, country budgets and/or Gavi’s health system strengthening support.


All Gavi-supported countries have access to the new technology available through the CCE. Of these countries, 55 will be able to apply for Gavi support to help fund the equipment.

Based on Gross National Income per capita, Gavi will cover 50-80% of the total purchase, delivery and installation costs. Countries are expected to fund the remaining cost.

market shapingMarket shaping potential

Gavi expects its CCE Platform to follow in the footsteps of its market shaping approach to vaccines.


By facilitating reliable demand forecasts for cold chain equipment and securing predictable funding, the CCE Platform gives manufacturers confidence to invest in new technology and production. At the same time, support for country decision-making will help stimulate demand for more efficient and modern infrastructure.

More favourable market conditions for cold chain equipment will encourage innovation and bring down costs in the long term.

Additional online resources to support CCE management  

WHO performance quality safety (PQS) catalogue
Detailed specifications on each WHO PQS-approved cold chain device and WHO guidelines to help device selection.

WHO vaccine volume calculator
Calculates the total supply chain storage volume needed for a country’s vaccination programme.

PATH total cost of ownership tool
Calculates purchase, delivery, installation and operating costs for a selection of cold chain devices over their expected lifetimes.

UNICEF cold chain support package
Commercial and technical guidance for procurement of CCE equipment through the UNICEF Supply Division.

UNICEF supply catalogue
Lists cold chain devices with technical specifications and pricing

Cold chains are critical to achieving sustainable and quality coverage, but up to 90% of health facilities are poorly equipped.

Pneumococcal vaccine storage, Malawi

Nurse in Malawi's Salima district uses a domestic fridge to store pneumococcal vaccines. Gavi/2011/Doune Porter

Gavi recognises well-performing cold chains – fridges, cold boxes, power sources etc - are a pre-requisite for countries to be able to deliver vaccines to every child. Yet today, most health facilities struggle with equipment that is both unreliable and expensive. Up to 90%, of health facilities in Gavi-supported countries lack the right equipment to keep vaccines safe and efficient. This has become a key barrier to reaching the hard-to-reach communities.

As countries continue to introduce vaccines that are larger, more expensive and freeze-sensitive, the need for reliable and appropriate cold chain equipment will becomes critcal.

Outdated equipment

Many of today’s supply chain systems were designed up to 40 years ago as part of the expansion of the EPI programme. Here are some examples of how cold chain equipment has grown increasingly outdated:

Broken, unreliable or poorly performing equipment limits access to vaccines. It also risks exposing vaccines to excessive heat or freezing. This in turn reduces their effectiveness and safety, leading to expensive wastage.

Ageing or unsuitable technologies increase operating and wastage costs. For example, devices that do not require a mains power supply still require kerosene refuelling and battery replacements. They also rely on the regular purchase and transport of cooling packs – another potential bottleneck to maintaining vaccines at the appropriate temperature.

Devices connected to the power grid can be vulnerable to damage from voltage spikes; they also need increased maintenance and frequent replacement of spare parts.

Need to invest

Poorly functioning cold chains put Vaccine Alliance investments in immunisation at risk, undermining both vaccine introductions and country efforts to reach all children.

However, countries needing to invest in efficient vaccine cold chain systems often struggle to purchase new technology because of unpredictable or limited funding as well as the need for high up-front capital costs.

Poor information exchange between manufacturers and countries using the new equipment means there is a limited understanding of how devices actually perform in the field.  Countries often lack information while manufacturers’ production planning and inventory management are complex. As a result, costs and prices are higher than they would be under more favourable market conditions.

Investing in reliable and high-performing cold chain equipment is key to ensuring:

  • reliable vaccine storage and extended operating time
  • vaccine safety and effectiveness
  • sustainable, equitable immunisation coverage


How to apply

For information about how to apply for support through Gavi’s Cold Chain Equipment Optimisation visit our Apply for support section or log into the Gavi Country Portal.

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