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Top tips for conducting vaccine research

A brief guide to conducting effective vaccine research in emerging markets

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The vaccine opportunity in emerging markets
The global vaccine market has grown more than six times over the past 20 years, to a value of $35 billion – with an estimated growth rate of at least 7% annually over the next four years.

According to the World Health Organization, 82% of global vaccine sales are in high income countries, which account for 20% of the volume of all vaccines sold. Low and middle income countries account for the remaining 18% of value, and 80% of volume. Despite currently having a relatively small private market (5-10% of all vaccines sold), low and middle income countries are expected to outpace the global average, with double-digit growth. 

Recent events related to coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have also heightened attention on vaccinations and their importance for public health, impacting demand and driving further growth of the vaccine market.

Based on our extensive experience and local knowledge, these are our 10 top tips for conducting vaccine research in emerging markets:

01 Public or private market?
Some healthcare practitioners (HCPs) will only discuss vaccines included in national immunisation programmes (NIP) and not private market vaccines. They may avoid discussing out of pocket (OOP) vaccines with their patients for fear of being seen as a salesperson - particularly in some parts of Asia.

02 Consider including influencers
Specialists and key opinion leaders (KOLs) may be relevant to include in your sample in order to obtain high level perspectives on future market developments, despite not actually vaccinating, due to their potential to influence uptake among primary care providers.

03 Same day vaccination?
Often a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) in mature markets, this may be less relevant in emerging markets. Families frequently play a larger role in discussing self-paid vaccines and often need time to consider the costs. It is also important to recognise the role of vaccination centres in Latin American countries – the prescriber of the vaccine may not always be responsible for administering or taking payment.

04 Role of NITAGs
National immunization technical advisory groups (NITAGs), which vary in composition and size between countries, provide scientific recommendations to their respective ministries of health to enable them to make evidence-based decisions related to vaccination policy. Consider including their perspective in your study. 

05 Manufacturing matters; quality is key 
Consider how quality perceptions influence attitudes to domestically manufactured vaccines. China in particular has faced a number of vaccine quality scandals in recent years, sparking widespread public anger.

06 Understanding consumer willingness to pay
Understand healthcare consumers’ willingness to pay for a vaccine by asking them to make other trade-offs (e.g. what new household item would they give up to purchase the vaccine); consider adopting a ‘time to think’ approach to reduce overstatement and better reflect their real-life decision making process.

07 “Vaccines are for babies”
Large family sizes may impact consumers’ willingness to vaccinate whole households with a vaccine that needs to be purchased OOP. There is a perception amongst both HCPs and consumers in many emerging markets that vaccines are most relevant for infants, rather than themselves.

08 Consider cause completion
Some vaccines need multiple doses to be fully effective, meaning it is important to measure the adherence rate in the context of completing the full course, and the actions taken by HCPs to encourage their patients to return for subsequent doses. How payments are structured over multiple doses may also impact adherence.

09 Don't forget the travel health market
Despite recent interruptions, tourism to emerging markets continues to increase - from both mature and other emerging markets. In particular, the requirements for vaccination for pilgrims attending Hajj in Saudi Arabia represent an important opportunity for some vaccines.

10 Screen anti-vaxxers
While the ‘vaccine hesitancy’ movement tends to be less pronounced in emerging markets, some consumers are resistant to the idea of vaccination. To ensure relevance of data collected through market research, it is worth giving careful consideration to whether you want to include vaccination rejectors in your sample, with the decision likely depending on the study objectives (true reflection of the market vs. focusing on the most relevant target population). 

To find out more or to request a complimentary RP Informs market tutorial, please fill in the below form.

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