•The global lender is targeting 51 countries with the new funding announced yesterday.
•Half of these countries are in Africa with about five from the region which also include DR Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Kenya is among 51 developing countries that will benefit from a $4 billion (about Sh432.7 billion) World Bank funding for the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
Half of the countries are in Africa with DR Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan and Ethiopia forming part of the list.
More than half of the financing comes from the International Development Association (IDA), the bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries, and is on grant or highly concessional terms.
The financing is part of the bank’s commitment to help low- and middle-income countries acquire and distribute vaccines and strengthen their health systems, it said in a statement yesterday.
The finance package is flexible and can be used by countries to acquire doses through COVAX, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) or other sources.
Only two per cent of Kenyan adults have so far been fully vaccinated with about 595,810 having received their second dose since the exercise commenced, latest Health Ministry data shows.
At least 1,040, 665 have received their first dose with a the total number of vaccines supplied across the country recorded at 1,636,475.
The World Bank said governments, pharmaceutical companies, and organisations involved in vaccine procurement and delivery should be transparent and build greater public information.
This is on vaccine contracts, options and agreements, vaccine financing and delivery agreements, and doses delivered and future delivery plans.
It has asked countries anticipating excess vaccine supplies in the coming months to release their surplus doses and options as soon as possible, in a transparent manner, to developing countries with adequate distribution plans in place.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has approved more than $150 billion (Sh16.2 trillion) to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic.
The latest allocation will boost Kenya's vaccination efforts where the country has so far received about $246 million (Sh26.6 billion) from the World Bank.
This includes $130 million (Sh14.1 billion) approved last month by the global lender.
Since April 2020, the bank has scaled up its financing by over 50 per cent, helping more than 100 countries meet emergency health needs, strengthen pandemic preparedness, while also supporting countries protect the poor and jobs, and jump starting a climate-friendly recovery.
According to World Bank managing director of operations Axel van Trotsenburg, Significant challenges still remain regarding vaccine deployment and hesitancy.
“We are taking action on all fronts to tackle these challenges, working in solidarity with international and regional partners to expedite doses to as many people as possible and to enhance disease surveillance, preparedness, and response, “ van Trotsenburg said.
The $4 billion is supporting Covid -19 vaccination efforts in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Comoros, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Ethiopia and The Gambia.
Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, the Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique and Nepal will also benefit.
Others are Niger, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, São Tomé e Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, Yemen, and Zambia.
It also finances vaccine deployment and health system strengthening, such as vaccine cold-chains, training health workers, data and information systems, and communications and outreach campaigns to key stakeholders which are crucial to ensure vaccination acceptance.
The bank has aligned its eligibility criteria for COVID-19 vaccines with the revised eligibility criteria of COVAX and other multilateral partners.
It is partnering with the African Union and the World Bank-supported Africa Center for Disease Control, to support AVATT initiative with resources to allow countries purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million people across Africa.
The Bank is also convening a task force with the IMF, WHO, WTO, and other partners to track, coordinate, and advance delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries.
Latest findings show that 95 per cent of countries have developed national vaccination plans, 79 per cent have safety measures in place, and 82 per cent have prioritisations of populations to receive the vaccine.
However, only 59 per cent have developed plans to train the large number of vaccinators needed and less than half have a plan in place to generate public confidence, trust, and demand for Covid-19 vaccines.