Monday, January 25, 2021

Caribbean, Latin America to get US$1-billion aid to buy COVID-19 vaccines

THE Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said last week it will mobilise US$1 billion to assist countries in the Caribbean and Latin America acquire and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, adding to some $1.2 billion already committed in 2020.

The aid will complement other funds already programmed for 2021 to help countries save lives through public health measures such as more effective testing and tracing, and better clinical management of COVID-19 patients.

“We are expanding our support to help Latin American and Caribbean countries ensure timely access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines,” said IDB President Mauricio Claver-Carone.

“The coming months will be critical to altering the course of the pandemic and supporting the recovery of our region, which is why we are being bold and proactive. The IDB stands ready to help ensure their successful implementation throughout the region,” he continued.

The IDB will support countries in three main areas — the purchase of vaccine doses through multilateral efforts, such as the COVAX Facility; institutional strengthening to help countries develop effective vaccine deployment mechanisms; and investment to build immunisation capacity and finance operational costs. The bank will work closely with other institutions, including the Pan American Health Organization.

In addition, the IDB reiterated its call for Latin American and Caribbean governments to redouble efforts to prepare national deployment and vaccination plans.

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