Protocol for a systematic review of the effects of interventions for vaccine stock management

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Abstract Background Inadequate vaccine stock management in health facilities leads to vaccine stock-outs. The latter threatens the success of immunisation programmes. Countries have used various approaches to reduce stock-outs and improve vaccine availability, but we are not aware of a systematic review of these interventions. This protocol describes the methods we will use to assess the effects of existing approaches for improving vaccine stock management. Methods We include randomised and non-randomised studies identified through a compehensive search of peer-reviewed and grey literature databases. We will search PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Embase, Web of Science, PDQ-Evidence and Scopus. We will also search websites of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation, PATH Vaccine Resources Library and United Nations Children’s Fund. In addition, we will search the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform and reference lists of included studies and relevant reviews. Finally, we plan to do a citation search for included studies. We will use Cochrane recommended methods to screen search outputs, assess study eligibility and risk of bias, extract and analyse study results. We will use the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) tool to assess the certainty of the evidence on the effects of the interventions. Discussion We believe that the findings of this review will serve as valuable information for policy makers on ways to improve vaccine stock management and vaccine availability. When vaccine availability is improved, those who need them, especially children, will be adequately protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. Systematic review registration PROSPERO CRD42018092215