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World Bank financing for Covid 19 vaccine rollout exceeds $4 billion for 50 countries

The World Bank announced that it is providing over $4 billion for the purchase and deployment of Covid 19 vaccines for 51 developing countries, half of which are in Africa. 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 help low- and middle-income countries acquire and distribute vaccines and strengthen their health systems.

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%, 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.

Full details of World Bank vaccine operations are posted on their vaccine operations portal, with regular updates. The $4 billion is supporting Covid 19 vaccination efforts in 51 countries including Nepal. 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 has aligned its eligibility criteria for Covud 19 vaccines with the revised eligibility criteria of COVAX and other multilateral partners. The Bank is also convening a task force with the IMF, WHO, WTO, and other partners to track, coordinate, and advance delivery of Covid 19 vaccines to developing countries.

Latest findings show that 95% of countries have developed national vaccination plans, 79% have safety measures in place, and 82% prioritisations of populations to receive the vaccine. However, only 59% have developed plans to train the large number of vaccinators needed and less than half have a plan in place to generate public confidence, trust, and demand for Covid 19 vaccines.

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