Expert case by Bernard

MBB Case: COVID-19 Vaccine

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Case Prompt

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed millions of people worldwide and led to devastating economic impact. A vaccine is one of the biggest hopes for stopping the pandemic. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with multiple stakeholders to ensure groups at higher risk of becoming infected and dying (e.g. elderly people and healthcare workers) receive a safe an effective COVID-19 vaccine in the next six months.

The WHO’s Director-General asked your help to build a plan to achieve this goal. What should be included in this plan?

Additional Information

Part 1 – Case Opening

Our main goal is to ensure the world's most at-risk populations receive a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in the next six months.

Part 2 – Governance model

Part 3.1 – Demand Analysis: COVAX needs to estimate the demand from high-risk groups around the world. Based on exhibit 2, how many doses of vaccine in total are needed to serve the high-risk groups?

Clarifying information:

  • Assume the world has 7 billion people
  • Ignore people over 65 years who are also healthcare workers
  • Compliance refers to the % of people willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Loss rate refers to the % of the vaccines wasted during transportation or at the point of administration

Part 3.2 – Demand Analysis: In order to increase compliance rates, how would you shape public opinion to address misconceptions around vaccination? What should you consider as part of an effective com

Part 3.3 – Demand Analysis: What should an effective communication strategy look like?

For a vaccination campaign to work, a very high percentage of the population must be vaccinated, so compliance is the key driver. Addressing public mistrust is complex and context-dependent; it is important to act at global and national levels.

Part 4.1 – Supply Analysis: After analysing the data on Exhibit 3, what are your conclusions?

As part of the vaccine selection decision, COVAX has obtained clinical, manufacturing and cost data for six vaccines at late stages of development. All six vaccines are produced by different manufacturers. 

Clarifying information:

  • To be accepted, a vaccine must have efficacy higher than 75%, and mild side effects

Part 4.2 – Supply Analysis: What are possible options to ensure all 2.1 billion doses get produced in the next six months?

Part 5 – Prioritisation Decision: After reviewing the information on Exhibit 4, Which country (A or B) should take priority?

In case of severe supply constraints, COVAX designed a risk scoring system to determine the speed at which vaccines are delivered to different countries. Countries with a higher risk score receive vaccines faster. The scoring system does not impact the total number of vaccines allocated to each country. A country’s risk score is calculated based on specific parameters, grouped into two categories: “threat” and “vulnerability”.

Clarifying information:

  • Rt measures how fast the virus is spreading in a population. Both the current score and trends are considered
  • Scores for each parameter range between 1-10

Part 6 – Conclusion: You have one minute to present your findings to the WHO's Director General. What are you going to say?

Further Questions

Difficult questions are marked as "Follow-up questions" throughout the case. Follow-up questions are common during MBB interviews and are also called "structured brainstorming":

- Demand analysis: communication strategies to increase compliance rates

- Supply analysis: alternatives to make all 2.1 billion doses

- Prioritisation: strengths and weaknesses of the risk scoring system

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