COVID-19: Ethiopia May Get Access to World Bank’s Vaccine Fund

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia may get financing help from World Bank’s COVID-19 Vaccine emergency fund, currently under preparation by the global lender, according to reports.

Like most African nations, vaccination against COVID-19 has not started in Ethiopia where the virus infected 161,974 people and caused 2,391 deaths as of Thursday morning.

The World Bank is now preparing emergency financing to help about 30 African countries access COVID-19 vaccines, the lender’s spokesperson told Reuters news agency on Thursday.

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. They rely on the World Health Organization’s vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, which delivered its first doses last week with a shipment to Ghana.

The World Bank said financing projects were being prepared in African countries including Ethiopia, 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,” the bank’s spokesperson told Reuters.

Last week the African Union’s disease control body said the continental bloc was backing calls for drug-makers to waive some intellectual property rights on vaccines to speed up their roll-out to poorer countries.