World Bank Approves $12 bn for COVID-19 Vaccines

The World Bank said Tuesday that it has authorised $12 billion to fund the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and care for developing countries.

In a statement, the bank said the funding "aims to facilitate vaccination of up to a billion people."

The money is part of an overall package of up to $160 billion from the World Bank Group (WBG) through June 2021, intended to help developing countries combat the latest coronavirus pandemic.

“This financing package helps signal to the research and pharmaceutical industry that citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines,” the statement read.

“It will also provide financing and technical support so that developing countries can prepare for deploying vaccines at scale, in coordination with international partners.”

In the statement, World Bank Group President David Malpass said that access to safe and reliable vaccines and reinforced distribution systems is essential to changing the trajectory of the pandemic and helping countries with devastating economic and fiscal impacts shift towards a resilient recovery.

The financing "will also support countries to access and extend immunization capacities for Covid-19 tests and treatments to help health systems better deploy the vaccines," the statement added.

The financing approval was expected as Malpass had announced the project in late September.

While vaccines have yet to appear on the market, Malpass noted in an interview with the French daily Le Figaro that it was necessary to prepare because of the complicated vaccine distribution process.

According to the statement, the strategy of the Bank draws on its 'important experience in promoting large-scale vaccine-preventable disease immunization initiatives, as well as public health initiatives to counter infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases.'

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