Last reviewed 18 February 2021

In this latest stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, in which vaccines are ready for distribution, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Council has promised to work with relevant international organisations to facilitate the cross-border movement of situationally critical medicines and vaccines.

The WCO said that it will produce guidance materials to highlight existing HS (Harmonised System) classification for critical medicines, vaccines and associated medical supplies necessary for their manufacture, distribution and use.

The WCO’s Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate, in close cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), has prepared a new HS classification reference for vaccines and the medical consumables normally used during the vaccination process, including the equipment used for their storage and transportation.

The New HS classification reference for vaccines and related supplies and equipment can be found in the WCO Covid-19 vaccines distribution dedicated page:

This section of the WCO website compiles information about the tools, guidance materials and best practices that can help its Members and their stakeholders worldwide to support the Covid-19 vaccine distribution effort.

This will include facilitating the cross-border movement of vaccines and situationally critical medicines, while protecting people from dangerous, sub-standard or counterfeit medicines and vaccines.

The HS is an international nomenclature established by the WCO and currently used by over 200 Customs administrations as a basis for their Customs tariffs and for the collection of trade statistics.