World Bank approves $12bn for COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The international financial institution World Bank has announced $12 billion to support the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatment in developing countries.

The funding is part of the total $160 billion resources the World Bank Group (WBG) has pledged to offer developing countries by June 2021. The resources are created to aid these countries to curb the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The bank clarified in a statement that the funding targets to support vaccination of up to a billion people.

“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 said.

Further, the bank said that the funding program will include technical support to the countries so that they can prepare for deploying vaccines at large scale by associating with international partners.

“Access to safe and effective vaccines and strengthened delivery systems are key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” says President of World Bank Mr. David Malpass.

The financing “will also support countries to access COVID-19 tests and treatments, and expand immunization capacity to help health systems deploy the vaccines effectively,” the statement further added.

This $12 billion funding approval was expected in September when the World Bank President declared the project. In an interview given to a French media Mr Malpass stated that though the vaccines are yet to arrive in the market, due to the complicated vaccine delivery procedures it was necessary to prepare.

As per the statement, the World Bank intends to focus on its “significant expertise in supporting large-scale immunization programs for vaccine-preventable diseases, as well as public health programs to tackle infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases.”