Corruption in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout: What online media reveals

The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has not come without corruption risks. Research on the prevalence and drivers behind vaccine-related corruption, however, is so far scarce. To close this gap, Transparency International Global Health is publishing a series of micro-reports examining the nature of different corruption types in the vaccine rollout. We do this using online news articles sourced by an Artificial Intelligence-based media monitoring tool, AIMON.

Analysing media reports from around the world, the reports identify regional clusters, monetary value and drivers for the following corruption categories in relation to the vaccine rollout: bribery, corrupt fraud, embezzlement, and favouritism. For interested researchers, we provide the full dataset of analysed media reports for further analysis and validation.

The reports present an initial attempt to shed light on which forms corruption can take in the vaccine rollout in order to signpost where effective anti-corruption work is necessary. They cannot make any overarching statements about the impact of corruption on the health system or any other broader contexts. For more information on how corruption in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been affecting health systems in Bangladesh, Uganda and Zambia, please view this report from TI Global Health.

The first of these reports focuses on bribery and has discovered several trends that will be of interest to researchers working in this field. Most notably, we have observed that obtaining a vaccine certificate without undergoing the vaccination was by far the most common motivation for bribery in the sixmonth period we tracked. 

Download “Bribery in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout: What online media reveals” here