World Bank financing for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out reaches US$2 billionWednesday, April 28, 2021
The World Bank says that it has reached US$2 billion in approved financing for the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for 17 developing countries. This financing is part of the US$12 billion pledged for developing countries to acquire and deploy vaccines and strengthen their vaccination systems.
The US$2-billion funding is supporting COVID-19 vaccination in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cabo Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Honduras, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Tajikistan, and Tunisia.
The Bank expects to support 50 countries with US$4-billion financing for COVID-19 vaccines by mid-year.
World Bank Group President David Malpass said that access to vaccines is key to altering the course of the pandemic and helping countries move toward a resilient recovery.
“Our programmes are helping developing countries respond to the health emergency and have financing available for vaccines. As the world attempts to carry out the largest vaccination effort in history, we have stressed the need for countries with excess vaccine supplies to release them as soon as possible, and for financing commitments to COVAX [COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access] to be encashed,” he said.
The bank is working with governments and partners (UNICEF, the Global Fund, World Health Organisation, and GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance) to assess the readiness of over 140 developing countries to deploy vaccines.
Initial findings show that while 85 per cent of countries have developed national vaccination plans, only 30 per cent have plans to train the number of vaccinators needed, and 27 per cent have put public engagement strategies in place to address vaccine hesitancy, the World Bank said.
According to the bank, the vaccine finance package is designed to be flexible. It can be used by countries to procure doses through COVAX or other sources. It can also finance other key deployment and health system strengthening activities, such as medical supplies, personal protective equipment, vaccine cold chains, training health workers, data and information systems and communications and outreach campaigns to key stakeholders which are key to ensuring vaccination acceptance.
Additionally, International Finance Corporation, the bank's private sector development arm, has a US$4-billion health platform to increase the supply and local production of personal protective equipment in developing countries and unlock medical supply bottlenecks in emerging markets, particularly in medical equipment and vaccines.
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