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COVID-19: World Bank raises $8 billion to $20 billion vaccine fund for developing countries


COVID-19: World bank increased vaccine fund for developing countries


Washington: The World Bank on Wednesday announced that it has increased its COVID-19 vaccine fund for developing countries from $8 billion to $20 billion.

In addition, the bank's private financing arm has secured a 600 million euro package for a South African vaccine manufacturer to ramp up production, the institution announced.

"The actions announced today on vaccine production, deployment and financing will save lives, spur economic recovery and allow people in developing countries to prosper," World Bank Group President David Malpass told reporters.

The bank said in a statement that $20 billion is available for vaccine distribution as well as cold chain and health workers training by 2022.

As of Wednesday, the bank had disbursed $4.4 billion to 51 developing countries, half of which was in the form of grants or low-cost loans.

Malpass again urged the advanced nation to increase support for vaccine access in developing countries, including distributing additional doses to a larger segment of the population, especially in wealthy countries.

Axel van Trotsenberg, Head of Operations, World Bank, said: "There are still significant challenges with regard to vaccination and hesitancy. We are taking action on all fronts to address these challenges."

The Washington-based development lender has approved more than $150 billion since the start of the pandemic to help address the health and social impacts of the crisis.

Meanwhile, the bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) joined with French, German, and American development agencies on a financing package for Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd., a leading pharmaceutical company in South Africa.

IFC said in a statement that the resources would allow the company to refinance debt and boost vaccine production.

The company has contracted with Johnson & Johnson to dismantle and package the single-dose vaccine.

"Aspen is trying to play a meaningful role in contributing to the objective of meeting the majority of Africa's needs from production sites located in Africa," said Stephen Saad, Group CEO of Aspen.

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