The World Bank is providing over $4 billion for the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines for 51 developing countries, half of which are in Africa.
The announcement was made on June 30, 2021.
According to a release, more than half of the financing comes from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries, and is on grant or highly concessional terms.
This financing is part of the Bank’s commitment to helping low- and middle-income countries acquire and distribute vaccines and strengthen their health systems.
The $4 billion is supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Comoros, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, among others.
The Bank’s vaccine finance package is designed to be flexible. It can be used by countries to acquire doses through COVAX, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), or other sources.
It also finances vaccine deployment and health system strengthening, such as vaccine cold-chains, training health workers, data and information systems, and communications and outreach campaigns to key stakeholders which are crucial to ensure vaccination acceptance.
The Bank says it has aligned its eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccines with the revised eligibility criteria of COVAX and other multilateral partners.
In Africa, the World Bank is partnering with the African Union and the World Bank-supported Africa Center for Disease Control to support AVATT initiative with resources to allow countries to purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million people across Africa.
The Bank is also convening a task force with the IMF, WHO, WTO, and other partners to track, coordinate, and advance the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.
The World Bank reiterated its call to governments, pharmaceutical companies, and organisations involved in vaccine procurement and delivery to help increase transparency and build greater public information regarding vaccine contracts, options and agreements; vaccine financing and delivery agreements; and doses delivered and future delivery plans.
It asked those countries anticipating excess vaccine supplies in the coming months to release their surplus doses and options as soon as possible, in a transparent manner, to developing countries with adequate distribution plans in place.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has approved more than $150 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic.
Since April 2020, the Bank has scaled up its financing by over 50 percent, helping more than 100 countries meet emergency health needs, strengthen pandemic preparedness, while also supporting countries as they protect the poor and jobs, and jump-starting a climate-friendly recovery.