The fund, according to the world bank, is intended to provide upfront funding for the safe and effective acquisition and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The World Bank’s Board of Directors has approved a $400 million credit from its International Development Association (IDA) to Nigeria for COVID-19 vaccine acquisition, according to a statement released on Friday in Washington.
The fund, according to the bank, is intended to provide upfront financing for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine acquisition and deployment within the country and will be implemented as part of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project.
The original COVID-19 response program would be expanded to enable equitable access, according to the statement, building on the Federal Government’s plan to break the chain of local transmission of COVID-19 and limit the virus’s spread.
This is in order to purchase affordable COVID-19 vaccines for 18%, or approximately 40 million Nigerians, and to support effective vaccine deployment for 50%, or approximately 110 million Nigerians.
It also stated that the additional funding would enable Nigeria to purchase and deploy COVID-19 vaccines, as well as strengthen relevant health systems required for a successful deployment and prepare for future health emergencies.
“Most importantly, it will enable the acquisition of vaccines to support Nigeria’s goal of having access to vaccines under the right conditions of value-for-money, regulatory approvals, and delivery time, among other important features.”
“This will ensure that the government meets its target of vaccinating 51% of its population within two years.”
According to Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, as the Nigerian government deals with the effects of a third wave of the pandemic, it is critical to continue vaccinating citizens in addition to using non-pharmaceutical interventions.
This, he said, was to avoid the dreadful consequences of another lockdown, which had left a financial toll on the country that it was still dealing with.
“This additional funding would ensure that the Nigerian government has the financial resources it needs to continue its vaccination campaign. This means that Nigerians will have easier access to the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Mr. Ayodeji Ajiboye, the project’s World Bank Task Team Leader, stated that because there is currently an excess of demand for vaccines from both high-income and low-income countries, the additional funds would allow Nigeria to obtain the vaccine as soon as possible.
He stated that it would improve the ability of all states and the Federal Capital Territory to deploy vaccines.
“It will also strengthen the country’s long-term health system interventions, such as improving health workers’ health-emergency response capacity, cold chain equipment, disease surveillance, data management and use, and laboratory testing.”
The bank recalled that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had deployed over $157 billion to combat the pandemic’s health, economic, and social impacts, making it the fastest and largest crisis response in its history.
Similarly, it stated that it was assisting 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 that it was making $20 billion in funding available for that purpose until the end of 2022.