Eradication of a disease promises significant health and financial benefits. Preserving those benefits, hopefully in perpetuity, requires preparing for the possibility that the causal agent could re-emerge (unintentionally or intentionally). In the case of a vaccine-preventable disease, creation and planning for the use of a vaccine stockpile becomes a primary concern. Doing so requires consideration of the dynamics at different levels, including the stockpile supply chain and transmission of the causal agent. This paper develops a mathematical framework for determining the optimal management of a vaccine stockpile over time. We apply the framework to the polio vaccine stockpile for the post-eradication era and present examples of solutions to one possible framing of the optimization problem. We use the framework to discuss issues relevant to the development and use of the polio vaccine stockpile, including capacity constraints, production and filling delays, risks associated with the stockpile, dynamics and uncertainty of vaccine needs, issues of funding, location, and serotype dependent behavior, and the implications of likely changes over time that might occur. This framework serves as a helpful context for discussions and analyses related to the process of designing and maintaining a stockpile for an eradicated disease.
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