KfW supports preparations for COVID-19 vaccination in India
News from 2020-11-25 / KfW Development Bank
The success in the development of vaccines against COVID-19 and the prospect of their availability in the near future gives hope worldwide. The severely affected, densely populated developing countries and emerging economies in particular will need a vaccination - and a great deal of international support in its implementation. The recent G20 summit has confirmed this in view of the adopted Covac vaccination initiative. The upcoming vaccination campaigns require a major logistical effort already now. KfW is supporting this by providing 15 million euros from funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to prepare for COVID-19 vaccination in India, an international corona hotspot. A financing agreement with UNICEF was signed for this purpose on 17 November 2020. The funds are earmarked for the UNICEF Response Plan to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will support the Indian government in combating COVID-19 and cushioning the consequences of the pandemic for the population.
A key challenge is to provide for a continuous cold chain to ensure that the vaccine works. India has deficits in this respect - under the current circumstances, a vaccine could not even be distributed nationwide.
Accordingly, the funding will be used to improve the medical cold chain in order to prepare the health system for the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccination. To this end, the procurement of refrigerators and freezers for around 1,000 sites across the country will be financed. The equipment procured ranges from small refrigerators for individual health stations to walk-in cold rooms for storing larger quantities at district level. The overall aim is to ensure that the vaccine can be distributed throughout the country.
In addition, the procurement of PCR testing equipment and measures to strengthen human resource capacity in the health sector will also be funded. These measures not only help to absorb the burden of the pandemic in the short term, but also contribute to strengthening the Indian health system in the long term.
Already in the first phase of the project, EUR 15 million from BMZ funds were provided through UNICEF to procure urgently needed medical equipment. Within a very short period of time, this allowed for the procurement of around 325,000 COVID-19 tests, more than 3,000 oxygen concentrators and protective equipment for 22,000 health workers. The second phase should now build on the successful first phase - a good start for a hopefully rapid upward trend at the end of the Corona year 2020.