CARE: Policy Makers Need to Invest $5.00 In Delivery For Every $1 Spent on Vaccines

New Report Reveals for Every Dollar Spent on Vaccine, $2.50 Needed to Provide Frontline Health Workers with Training, Equipment, Salaries.

OTTAWA, 25 MARCH 2021 – A new report, “Our Best Shot: Women Frontline Health Workers in other countries are keeping you safe from COVID-19”, by CARE revealed that a comprehensive vaccine delivery strategy-that includes support for frontline healthcare workers, 70% which are women-requires policy makers to invest $5.00 dollars in delivery for every $1 they spend on vaccines themselves.  

Coming at a time when new and highly contagious variants of COVID-19 are emerging in countries that are struggling to access the vaccine and control the pandemic, the report adds that $2.50 must go to funding, training, equipping, and supporting health workers-especially women-who administer vaccines, run education campaigns, connect communities to health services, and build the trust required for patients to get vaccines. 

“CARE calls on governments around the world, including the Government of Canada, to invest in a fast and fair global vaccine rollout,” said CARE Canada President and CEO Barbara Grantham. “This investment must include funds for vaccine doses as well as funds for vaccine preparation and delivery ‘on the ground’ (estimated to be $5 in preparation and delivery for every $1 in vaccine doses). Donors such as Canada also have an important role in ensuring that women, as 70% of the world’s frontline health workers, have presence ‘at the table’ in determining vaccine roll out, policies and programs at all levels. All of us are aware that vaccine rollout is stretching the capacity of even the most prepared countries. Meaningful investment in developing countries must happen now, so that vaccine rollout in every country is quick and efficient.”

The report also notes that for every $1 invested in vaccines in less wealthy countries, wealthy countries will see $4.80 of economic benefit because economies can fully re-open sooner, while failing to make this investment could cost wealthy economies $4.5 trillion in economic losses. 

The new CARE report breaks down the actual cost of vaccinating the public and the entire delivery system: 

  • CARE estimates that to conduct a comprehensive strategy in this level of global pandemic, policy makers need to invest $5.00 dollars in rollout for every $1 they spend on vaccines themselves.
  • $2.50 to supporting health workers, including training, equipment, and salaries. This estimate includes fair pay and working conditions for both full-time health staff and part time workers, as well as surge capacity for vaccinators.
  • $0.15 for childcare costs to make it possible for frontline health workers to function effectively. 
  • $1.70 to strengthening and maintaining health infrastructure such as cold chains, vaccine tracking systems, power supplies, and administrative costs.
  • $0.65 to social mobilization and education campaigns to increase vaccine acceptance.
  • $0.15 to keeping health workers safe from COVID, including the increased time it takes to administer vaccine campaigns while enforcing social distancing and higher needs for personal protective equipment.   

To arrive at the above cost estimate, CARE reviewed more than 100 published studies about vaccine costs and based the core model on WHO’s costing figures for a proposed Ebola vaccine strategy in 2016, adding other variables-such as more comprehensive staff costs and safety measures for COVID-19-to that core model to ensure a more comprehensive picture. 

The new report comes as part of CARE’s larger Fast and Fair Vaccine Access Campaign-a two-year vaccine initiative started in 2020 to work with national, regional and local governments implementing vaccine campaigns, to ensure they are efficient, equitable and reach those most at risk, including women and frontline health workers. 

“Across our health programming, frontline healthcare workers are the backbone of health systems and have played a critical role in ensuring the success of childhood vaccination programs around the world,” said Rebecca Davidson, Head of Global Health at CARE Canada.

“Yet more than two-thirds of these healthcare workers are women, are frequently underpaid, undervalued and are often forced to work in unsafe environments with little to no support. This is a historic opportunity to recognize and invest in these women and their rights, or we will not meet our goal to reach ‘the last mile’ of communities with the COVID vaccines.”

Christina Kakaletris

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE develops solutions alongside women and girls in developing countries to lift themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty and out of crisis. CARE stands with women and girls around the world in economic empowerment. We bring women, girls, and their communities together to challenge inequality while facing issues like food insecurity, climate change, and emergency relief in times of crisis or disaster. CARE works in 100 countries around the world.


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