The World Bank tonight said it would up to funding for Covid-19 vaccine purchases and deployment to $20bn due to a sharp increase in financing demand from developing economies.
The multilateral body had previously targeted $12bn in spending on the vaccine programme.
World Bank President David Malpass said the global development bank had given 51 developing countries more than $4bn to use to buy doses of the vaccines.
“Much more will follow in coming weeks,” Malpass told reporters, noting that a total of 41 requests had been received from African countries, where less than half the population has been vaccinated.
Malpass also reiterated calls for those nations with more doses than they need to donate any extra doses.
The World Bank was also continuing to press for greater transparency by governments and pharmaceutical companies about vaccine contracts, options and agreements, he said.
“We’re at war with the vaccine,” Malpass said, adding that tight supplies and high demand made it crucial to have sufficient information to keep production flowing. “Covid not going to go away quickly. It’s going to be a long-term war.”
The decision to increase funding for vaccinations reflects growing concern about widely divergent vaccination rates between advanced economies and developing countries, World Bank officials said.
The World Bank has seen a sharp increase in overall financing demand from developing countries – not just health-related expenditure – during the pandemic, said the bank’s managing director for operations, Axel van Trotsenburg.
He told reporters that the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association had made lending commitments of nearly $100bn since the start of the crisis, well above the normal level of just under $60bn.
High demand for financing was expected to continue well into 2022, he said.