The World Bank has approved $12bn in financing to help developing countries buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments.
The $12bn “envelope” is part of a wider World Bank Group package of up to $160bn to help developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank said in a statement late on Tuesday.
Its implementation will be in support of efforts being led by the World Health Organization and COVAX, and will offer recipient countries a number of options with regards to acquiring and delivering vaccines.
The World Bank said its new funding would help “signal to the research and pharmaceutical industry that citizens in developing countries also need access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines”.
“We are extending and expanding our fast-track approach to address the COVID emergency so that developing countries have fair and equal access to vaccines,” the bank’s president, David Malpass, said in the statement.
World Bank COVID-19 emergency response programmes are already reaching 111 countries, with the new tranche of financing adding to its robustness.
“Access to safe and effective vaccines and strengthened delivery systems is key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery,” Malpass said.
The funding is meant to also help countries access tests and treatments and to support the management of supply chains and other logistics for vaccinations.
Development and deployment of vaccines is crucial to helping stem outbreaks of the coronavirus that has killed more than one million people and infected more than 38 million, while devastating economies and leaving millions jobless.