Board of Directors of the World Bank in a statement on Friday in Washington disclosed that it has approved $400 million credit to Nigeria in additional financing, from its International Development Association (IDA) to enhance the country’s covid-19 vaccine acquisition.
The fund is expected to offer an upfront financing for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine acquisition and deployment within the country and would also be implemented as part of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project.
According to the Bank, its aim is to build on the Federal Government’s plan to break the chain of local transmission of Covid-19 and limit the spread of the virus. The original Covid-19 response program would be expanded to enable equitable access, the statement added.
This is in order to purchase affordable COVID-19 vaccines for 18 per cent, or about 40 million of Nigeria’s population and support effective vaccine deployment to 50 per cent, about 110 million Nigerians.
It also said that the additional financing would allow Nigeria purchase and deploy COVID-19 vaccines, strengthen relevant health systems that are necessary for a successful deployment and to prepare for future health emergencies.
On his part, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said as the Nigerian government continues to tackle the effect of a third wave of the pandemic, it was crucial to continue to vaccinate citizens in addition to the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions.
This, he said, was to avoid the dreadful consequences of another lockdown that left in its wake an economic toll the country was still grappling with.
Ayodeji Ajiboye, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project, said recognising that there was currently an excess in demand for vaccines from both high-income and lower-income countries, the additional funds would let Nigeria acquire the vaccine at the earliest.
He said it would strengthen the capacity of all states and the Federal Capital Territory to deploy the vaccines.
The bank recalled that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had deployed over $157 billion dollars to fight the health, economic and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history.
Similarly, it said it was supporting over 50 low- and middle-income countries, more than half of which are in Africa, with the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and was making available $20 billion dollars in financing for that purpose until the end of 2022.