Background: Public health emergencies raise significant concerns about corruption and accountability; however, these concerns can manifest in different ways across diverse locations. For instance, more developed countries with a stronger rule of law may experience more corruption in vaccine procurement, whereas developing countries may experience more corruption at the point of distribution and delivery to end users. This research focuses on corruption concerns in Nigeria, specifically examining the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Methods: This paper utilizes a scoping review and a qualitative research approach. Key informants (n = 40) involved in the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across two states in Nigeria were interviewed. Findings from the scoping review were summarized, and collected data were inductively coded and analysed in themes, revealing clear examples of implementation irregularities and corruption in the country’s COVID-19 vaccination processes. Results: Vaccination programme budgeting processes were unclear, and payment irregularities were frequently observed, resulting in vaccinators soliciting informal payments while in the field. Recruitment and engagement of vaccination personnel was opaque, while target vaccination rates incentivized data falsification during periods of vaccine hesitancy. Accountability mechanisms, such as health worker supervision, vaccination data review, and additional technical support provided by donors were implemented but not effective at preventing corruption among frontline workers. Conclusions: Future accountability measures should be evidence-driven based on findings from this research. Personnel recruitment, contracting, budgeting, and remuneration should focus on transparency and accountability.


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Cite as

Onwujekwe, O., Orjiakor, C., Ogbozor, P., Agu, I., Agwu, P., Wright, T., Balabanova, D. & Kohler, J. 2023, 'Examining corruption risks in the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in select states in Nigeria', Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice, 16, article no: 141. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40545-023-00649-7

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Last updated: 19 December 2023
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