Some 1.66 million of the four million doses of Moderna vaccines financed by the World Bank arrived in Nepal yesterday. The remaining doses will be delivered shortly. Nepal will deploy these vaccines for adolescents 12-17 years to safeguard them from the health impacts of COVID-19.
The vaccines, procured under the COVAX cost-share option, comply with World Bank’s Vaccine Approval Criteria for financing and are certified as safe and effective for children as young as 12 years of age by the European Medicines Agency and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
“Nepal was the second country globally to finalize procurement of vaccines through the COVAX cost-share scheme. The supply of Moderna vaccines is timely for Nepal, as we expand our vaccine coverage to adolescents 12-17 years of age,” said Mr. Birodh Khatiwada, Honorable Minister of Health and Population. “The Government is committed to vaccinating the entire eligible population by mid-April 2022 and the World Bank-financed Moderna vaccines will be instrumental in helping Nepal achieve its COVID-19 vaccination goal.”
In line with the recommendations of the National Immunization Advisory Committee and the National Immunization Committee, the Moderna vaccines will be administered to adolescent populations through immunization sites set up in schools, as well as sites to reach out-of-school adolescent populations.
The World Bank also approved a second round of additional financing in the amount of $18 million on January 12, 2022, bringing its cumulative COVID-19 health response financing to $122 million to support Nepal in scaling-up its vaccination efforts to cover its additional eligible populations.
This Second Additional Financing and the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness (CERHSP) aim to prevent, detect, and respond to the threat posed by COVID‐19 and strengthen the systems for public health preparedness in Nepal. The CERHSP project and its additional financing will continue to be implemented under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Population by the Department of Health Services and associated institutional bodies.
“I am very pleased that the World Bank has been able to help make safe and effective vaccines available for Nepal’s adolescent and youth populations. This is critical since Nepal’s children have already missed almost two years of in-person schooling because of the pandemic,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. “I am hopeful that these vaccines will help increase health and protection of children in the classrooms and support continued learning to make up the learning lost due to COVID-19.”
The World Bank supports countries’ COVID-19 vaccine implementation plans. Countries make choices about vaccines and therapeutics based on their specific needs and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended policy and guidelines. Vaccines purchased with resources from the World Bank must meet specific eligibility criteria. Eligible COVID-19 vaccines are those that have received regular or emergency licensure or authorization from at least one of the Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRAs) identified by WHO for vaccines procured and/or supplied under the COVAX Facility or have received WHO Prequalification or WHO Emergency Use Listing. All vaccines under the COVAX Facility are procured, supplied, and transported by UNICEF.
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organizations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others.
World Bank Group Response to COVID-19
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has deployed over $157 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history. The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump start a climate-friendly recovery. The Bank is also supporting over 50 low- and middle-income countries, more than half of which are in Africa, with the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and is making available $20 billion in financing for this purpose until the end of 2022.