Saturday, March 27, 2021

World Bank Approves U.S.$100 Million to Support Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment in Tunisia

Nine African countries agree to begin journey towards pooled procurement to increase their access to affordable life-saving vaccines.

27 MARCH 2021

Tunis Afrique Presse (Tunis)

Tunis/Tunisia — The World Bank on Friday approved US$100 million in additional financing for the Tunisia COVID-19 Response Project to enable affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in the country, according to a WB press release a copy of which was received by TAP.

To support the Tunisian government's National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy to vaccinate 50 percent of its population by the end of 2021, the majority of the additional financing will help pay for the purchase and deployment of several million doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines--through COVAX or directly from manufacturers--as long as they meet World Bank vaccine approval criteria. World Bank funds will support the largest portion of Tunisia's vaccine supply.

The additional financing will also strengthen key aspects of Tunisia's vaccine deployment system, including targeting priority groups; training and supervising health care workers to administer vaccines; upgrading the entirety of the national cold chain including the purchase of almost 3,000 freezers and fridges; and developing communications campaigns to increase the uptake of vaccines. Finally, funds from the additional financing will help the Tunisian government monitor and evaluate the deployment of vaccines.

"The World Bank is mobilizing resources to support Tunisia in this critical effort to deploy the COVID-19 vaccine," said Tony Verheijen, the World Bank Country Manager for Tunisia. "After a year of suffering through this health crisis--compounded by an unprecedented social and economic crisis--the vaccine offers hope to save many lives, end this deadly pandemic, and start a new chapter where Tunisia can build back stronger in the years ahead."

According to the National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, the vaccine will be rolled out incrementally, starting with high-risk health workers as well as people age 75 years and above. The first group will be followed by other health workers, people between 60-75 years of age, essential workers in public and private sectors, as well as people with comorbidities, before expanding to people between 18-60 years old.

The additional financing expands the World Bank's Tunisia COVID-19 Response Project, which was approved on April 30, 2020. The parent project was deployed through an emergency mechanism to help the country acquire personal protective equipment and design the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

Read the original article on Tunis Afrique Presse.

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