Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass at the World Health Organization Media Briefing on COVID-19 and Vaccine Equity:
I join my colleagues in expressing the urgency to quickly make approved vaccines available to everyone.
My immediate priority is for countries that have sufficient supply to quickly release doses to countries that have vaccination deployment programs.
The World Bank has $12 billion in vaccine financing available now, and more if needed, to help countries buy and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and encourage vaccinations.
By the end of June, we will have approved vaccination operations in over 50 countries. These countries can immediately use vaccines from COVAX, from manufacturers, and from donor countries themselves as soon as they are made available.
It’s vital that we speed up the supply chain. We need to shorten the time from the manufacturing of the vaccine to shots in arms. At present, too many doses are waiting to be allocated. They may be stuck in paperwork; sitting in inventory somewhere; or aren’t the type of vaccine the country is able to use. In order to maximize the number of vaccinations, doses need to be matched to country programs as soon as they are manufactured.
It’s important to share information about the allocations so countries can plan ahead. The World Bank is providing transparent access to very detailed information about our projects through an online portal available at https://www.worldbank.org/vaccines. We urge other development partners to publish detailed information about their vaccine financing and deployment programs and their delivery schedules.
Our website also links to the 140 vaccine readiness assessments referred to in our op-ed. These will help us fill capacity gaps and rapidly add more financing operations. The financing can be available to countries immediately. For the poorest countries, it is on grant or highly concessional terms.
We’re also working to expand supply and will be making announcements of investments by IFC, the World Bank Group’s private sector development arm.
Each day counts in providing vaccine supplies to developing countries with deployment programs in place. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues on these vital tasks.