NIGERIA – The World Bank has approved US $400 million credit for Nigeria, to help fund COVID-19 vaccines for its citizens.

The fund, according to the World Bank, is intended to provide upfront funding for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine acquisition and deployment within the country, and it will be implemented as part of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project.

The additional funding from the International Development Association (IDA) will cover the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine across the country, and will enable Nigeria to vaccinate 51 percent or approximately 110 million people of its citizens in two years.

It would also assist Nigeria in strengthening its health-care systems and preparing for future health-care emergencies.

The funding would go a long way in helping Africa’s most populous nation expand its original COVID-19 response program to enable equitable access as Nigeria plans to break the chain of local transmission and limit pandemic spread.

Nigeria has given out five million vaccine doses to its 200 million citizens and is in the process of distributing millions more doses of Moderna and AstraZeneca shots obtained through the COVAX scheme, which provides vaccines to developing countries.

“This additional funding would ensure that the Nigerian government has the necessary financial resources to keep its vaccination drive going,” said Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank country director for Nigeria. “This would mean that Nigerians will have increased access to the COVID-19 vaccination,” he added.

The World Bank also noted that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had deployed over US$ 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 at least 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.

Viewed critically, the funding will enable the acquisition of vaccines to support Nigeria’s objective of having access to vaccines under the right conditions of value-for-money, regulatory approvals, and delivery time, among other important features.

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