The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced on Wednesday that it will mobilise US$1 billion to help Latin American and Caribbean countries acquire and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
The Washington-based financial institution said the funds will complement US$1.2 billion in resources that the IDB has committed in 2020, as well as 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,” he added.
Claver-Carone said 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.
He said the IDB will work closely with other institutions, including the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO).
In addition, the IDB is reiterating its call for Latin American and Caribbean governments to redouble efforts to prepare national deployment and vaccination plans.
The IDB said it “stands ready to help ensure their successful implementation throughout the region”.