World Bank Approves USD 12 Billion Package To Emerging Economies For COVID-19 Vaccine Purchase

Various pharmaceutical companies are investing billions of dollars to speed the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, the World Bank has approved USD 12 Billion to emerging countries for the purchase and distribution of coronavirus vaccine.

In a statement, the bank said that the financing “aims to support vaccination of up to billion people.” The approved finance is part of the World Bank Group (WBG) package to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this package, the bank has pledged to support over 100 countries to provide them financial support over a period of 15 months. Out of 100 countries, one-third of them are in conflict-affected situations such as Afghanistan, Niger, and Haiti.

The World Bank also added in a statement that this funding will “signal to the research and pharmaceutical companies that citizens in developing countries also need to 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.

Even though vaccines are not yet ready to get distributed in the market, the bank’s president said in an interview that it is important to prepare due to the complicated vaccine distribution process. The proper deployment of vaccine is crucial as COVID-19 has already killed over 1 Million people and infected more than 38 Million people worldwide.

“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. According to the bank’s statement, its approach is to support large scale immunization programs for vaccine-preventable diseases and to combat infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and ignored tropical diseases.

In its Poverty and Shared Prosperity report, the World Bank said that this pandemic would lead 88 Million to 150 Million people into poverty by 2021. It added that 82% of them would be from middle-class countries. “The pandemic and global recession may cause over 1.4 percent of the world’s population to fall into extreme poverty.”

Besides this, the COVID-19 crisis has led to the closure of schools across the globe. This has dramatically affected the quality of education and plummeted the student’s interest. A report from the World Bank noted that “Temporary school closures have had major implications for students. They have kept 391 Million students out of school in primary and secondary education, further complicating efforts to resolve the learning crisis.” It added the crisis may persuade 5.5 Million students to drop out of the education system. Moreover, it said that the South Asia region stands to lose around USD 622 Billion due to school closure.

Vaccine Development Update

Earlier this week, Johnson & Johnson announced that it has paused the COVID-19 vaccine trials due to the potential safety hazards while the U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lily said that it has suspended the Phase 3 trial due to unspecified reason. Last month, AstraZeneca had also announced the pause of clinical trials due to the inflammatory condition. However, the trials were resumed across the globe except for the U.S.