This paper discusses the movement toward self-sufficiency in vaccine supply in developing countries (and countries in transition to new economic and political systems) and explains special supply concerns about vaccine as a product class. It traces some history of donor support and programmes aimed at self-financing, then continues with a discussion about self-sufficiency in terms of institutional capacity building. A number of deficiencies commonly found in vaccine procurement and supply in low- and middle-income countries are characterized, and institutional strengthening with procurement technical assistance is described. The paper also provides information about a vaccine procurement manual being developed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for use in this environment. Two brief case studies are included to illustrate the spectrum of existing capabilities and different approaches to technical assistance aimed at developing or improving vaccine procurement capability. In conclusion, the paper discusses the special nature of vaccine and issues surrounding potential integration and decentralization of vaccine supply systems as part of health sector reform.