LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria got approval on Friday for $400 million in World Bank financing to procure and deploy COVID-19 vaccinations, the bank said in a statement.
The World Bank board of directors signed off on the financing, provided via the International Development Association, which it said would enable Africa’s most populous nation to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for 40 million people, some 18% of its population, and support vaccine deployment to 110 million people.
In a statement, the bank said the money would ensure that the government can vaccinate 51% of its population within two years and “avoid the dreadful consequences of another lockdown that left in its wake an economic toll the country is still grappling with.”
The government last month said that around 20% of workers in Nigeria had lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19.
Nigeria has administered some five million vaccine doses to its 200 million citizens, and is in the midst of deploying millions more doses of Moderna and AstraZeneca shots received through the COVAX scheme aimed at providing vaccines to developing countries.
It also has 1.12 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that it purchased through an African Union programme and is also scheduled to receive 7.7 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine via COVAX.
As of Oct. 1, Nigeria had recorded 205,779 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,721 deaths from the virus.
(Reporting By Libby George in Lagos and Camillus Eboh in Abuja, Editing by Nick Zieminski)