The World Bank is preparing emergency financing to help about 30 African countries access COVID-19 vaccines, the global lender told Reuters, as the
continent scrambles to secure doses and start immunizing vulnerable groups.
Only a handful of African governments have launched mass vaccination campaigns, whereas some countries in wealthier parts of the world have already administered millions of doses.
For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.
Many rely on the World Health Organization’s vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, which delivered its first doses last week with a shipment to Ghana.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
The World Bank said financing projects were being prepared in African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Niger, Mozambique, Tunisia, eSwatini, Rwanda and Senegal, without disclosing the amount of support under discussion.
“The funds are available now, and for most African countries, the financing would be on grant or highly concessional terms,” a bank spokesperson said in response to questions.
Last month the World Bank approved financing of $5 million from the International Development Association to provide Cape Verde with vaccines.
“This is the first World Bank-financed operation in Africa to support a country’s COVID-19 immunization plan and help with the purchase and distribution of vaccines,” the spokesperson added.
Africa’s reported coronavirus death toll recently surpassed 100,000, a fraction of the fatalities reported on other continents, but is rising fast as a second wave overwhelms hospitals.
African countries that have started vaccinating include South Africa, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Morocco and Egypt.
Last week the African Union’s disease control body said the continental bloc was backing calls for drugmakers to waive some intellectual property rights on vaccines to speed up their roll-out to poorer countries.
South Africa plans to share 1 mln AstraZeneca vaccine shots with African Union
Moderna says vaccine targeting S.African COVID-19 variant ready for testing
In major relief, S. Africa gets first coronavirus vaccine doses from India
- Kenya receives 1 million COVID-19 vaccines, courtesy of COVAX
- Ivory Coast begins COVID-19 vaccination campaign under COVAX initiative
- Ghana president receives world's first free Covax COVID-19 vaccine
- COVAX delivers its first COVID-19 vaccine shots with shipment to Ghana
- India’s Serum Institute dispatches first COVAX vaccines for WHO's global supply
- UN to rich nations: Don’t undermine COVAX vaccine program
- WHO head urges nations to donate vaccines to COVAX, ensure fairness in supplies
- Yemen awaits first vaccines by March through COVAX, Saudi could pay for more
- China to provide 10 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses in bid to support COVAX initiative