That dollar amount reflects a 389.6% acceleration in revenues for all vaccines exported over the five-year period starting in 2017 when globally exported vaccines amounted to $24.4 billion.
Year over year, the value of exported vaccines intended for human medicine spiked by 287.1% compared to $30.8 billion for 2020.
The 5 leading exporters of vaccines during 2021 were Belgium, mainland China, United States of America, Germany and Switzerland. Collectively, that quintet of major shippers of vaccines accounted for over three-quarters (78%) of global export sales for immunization medicines. Such a high percentage indicates a relatively concentrated cohort of vaccines exporters.
Key Geographic Insights about Exported Vaccines
Applying a continental perspective, suppliers located in European countries sold the highest dollar worth of exported human vaccines during 2021 with shipments valued at $85.3 billion or 71.6% of the world total (down from 87.9% for 2020).
In second place were exporters in Asia at 15.2% while another 12.8% of worldwide shipments of vaccines for human medicinal applications originated from North America.
Smaller percentages came from Africa (0.3%), Oceania’s (0.1%) led by Australia, then Latin America (0.04%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
For research purposes, the 6-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 300220 for vaccines used in human medicine.
Top Human Vaccines Exports by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of vaccines during 2021.
- Belgium: US$44.5 billion (37.3% of exported vaccines)
- China: $15.7 billion (13.1%)
- United States: $14.8 billion (12.4%)
- Germany: $11.7 billion (9.8%)
- Switzerland: $6.4 billion (5.3%)
- Spain: $6.1 billion (5.1%)
- France: $5.4 billion (4.6%)
- Ireland: $4.1 billion (3.5%)
- Italy: $3.1 billion (2.6%)
- Russia: $1.4 billion (1.2%)
- Netherlands: $1.2 billion (1.0%)
- India: $1.1 billion (0.9%)
- United Kingdom: $618 million (0.5%)
- South Korea: $518.6 million (0.4%)
- Canada: $409.8 million (0.3%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 98.2% of globally exported vaccines in 2021.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing exporters of vaccines since 2017 were: mainland China (up 26,602%), Switzerland (up 7,318%), Spain (up 3,888%), Germany (up 2,710%), then Russia (up 2,607%).
There was a trio of decliners in their international sales of vaccines namely the United Kingdom (down -85.1% from 2020), Canada (down -25.3%) and Ireland (down -9.7%).
Countries with Competitive Advantages Trading Vaccines
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for human vaccines during 2021. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported human vaccines and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- Belgium: US$19.3 billion (net export surplus up 1,351% since 2017)
- China: $12.1 billion (reversing a -$2.15 billion deficit)
- United States: $6.4 billion (reversing a -$5.7 billion deficit)
- Switzerland: $5.6 billion (reversing a -$23. 5 million deficit)
- Ireland: $3.3 billion (down -10.3%)
- France: $1.9 billion (down -1.1%)
- Russia: $1.2 billion (reversing a -$113.6 million deficit)
- Germany: $921 million (reversing a -$913.7 million deficit)
- India: $663.1 million (up 81.3%)
- Austria: $162.6 million (up 82.6%)
Overtaking the Republic of Ireland from one year earlier, Belgium generated the highest surplus in the international trade of human vaccines in 2021. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms Belgium’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
Countries with Competitive Disadvantages Trading Vaccines
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for human vaccines during 2021. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported human vaccines purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- Japan: -US$6 billion (net export deficit up 1,277% since 2017)
- Brazil: -$4.3 billion (up 565.5%)
- Pakistan: -$3.2 billion (up 1,437%)
- United Kingdom: -$3.14 billion (down -262.4%)
- Indonesia: -$3.09 billion (up 19,895%)
- Canada: -$2.4 billion (down -6,727%)
- Turkey: -$2.1 billion (up 795.7%)
- Philippines: -$2 billion (up 886%)
- South Korea: -$1.8 billion (up 1,161%)
- Australia: -$1.6 billion (up 640.1%)
Surpassing the United States of America which had incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of human vaccines one year earlier, densely populated Japan racked up the largest trade deficit for vaccines in 2021. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights Japan’s competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for human vaccines-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful consumer demand.
Human Vaccines Exporting Companies
Below are global human vaccines-processing conglomerates that represent the largest established players engaged in the international trade of human vaccines. Their city and home country for each corporation’s headquarters is shown within parenthesis.
- Bavarian Nordic (Kvistgaard, Denmark)
- CSL (Melbourne, Australia)
- Emergent BioSolutions (Rockville, USA)
- GlaxoSmithKline (London, UK)
- Inovio Pharmaceuticals (Plymouth Meeting, USA)
- Merck & Co (Kenilworth, USA)
- Mitsubishi Tanabe (Tokyo, Japan)
- Novavax (Rockville, USA)
- Pfizer (New York, USA)
- Sanofi (Paris, France)
The above list is ordered based on company size, and mirrors rankings from the technavio Blog.
See also Heart Pacemaker Export Sales by Country, Drugs and Medicine Exports by Country, Top Blood Exporters by Country and Top Vitamins Exports & Imports by Country
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on November 11, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on November 11, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on November 11, 2022
Technavio Blog, Top 10 Vaccine Manufacturers in the World 2021. Accessed on November 11, 2022
Wikipedia, Vaccine. Accessed on November 11, 2022