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U4 Helpdesk Answer

Mitigating corruption risks in Covid-19 vaccine rollout

What can donors do?

The scale and complexity of manufacturing, allocating and distributing Covid-19 vaccines across the world presents an unprecedented challenge. Troublingly, ensuring equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines is a process endangered by corruption. Corruption risks such as embezzlement, favouritism, nepotism and undue influence can occur at every stage of the vaccine value chain, from research and development to inoculation. This Helpdesk Answer focuses on strategies to mitigate risks of corruption in the delivery, targeting and distribution phases of vaccine rollout.

6 April 2021
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Mitigating corruption risks in Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Main points

  • The nature and scale of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout makes oversight difficult, which exacerbates corruption risks in the distribution, targeting and delivery of vaccines. These risks include nepotism, favouritism, embezzlement, conflict of interest, undue influence, bribery and leakages in resources intended for the vaccine rollout.
  • Several ongoing initiatives to tackle these corruption risks are taking place in several countries. This paper extrapolates from these to consider interventions that could be relevant for donor agencies.
  • Donors can take a number of short-term measures, including supporting transparency initiatives and helping to strengthen monitoring and reporting mechanisms. Longer term strategies involve embedding anti-corruption into emergency responses and enabling environments conducive to accountability.

Cite this publication

Rahman, K.; (2021) Mitigating corruption risks in Covid-19 vaccine rollout. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2021:2)

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About the author

Kaunain Rahman

Kaunain received her Master's in Corruption and Governance from The Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex in the UK where her focus area of research was corruption in international business. She works as Research Coordinator at Transparency International (TI), and her main responsibilities lie with the Anti-Corruption Helpdesk.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)