International Finance Institutions’ Support to the Deployment of COVID-19 Vaccines in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: 10 Lessons from Evaluation

Evaluation Document | 28 January 2021

2020 witnessed unprecedented scientific progress in developing a vaccine to control the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  This has led to the development of a range of effective vaccines spanning from traditional formulations to new ones, such as the novel mRNA or DNA-based vaccines.  Many international organizations have committed their support to ensuring that the vaccines are deployed and administered as quickly as possible across the globe. 

For instance, international financial institutions (IFIs), like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), have set aside substantial resources to support the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, including through the use of available purchase mechanisms and the strengthening of health-related systems. In October 2020, the World Bank approved a $12 billion envelope to finance the acquisition and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and strengthening of related systems by its client countries. In December 2020, ADB approved the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX), to provide a resource envelope of $9 billion and a framework to support fast, high quality, safe, and equitable vaccine access by its developing member countries (DMCs). ADB also emphasizes the importance of working in congruence with routine vaccination and other related health services.

Evaluation and research studies of financial and technical responses to past public health crises, such as the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic and introduction of new vaccines in low- and middle-income countries, can provide important lessons in making the COVID-19 vaccines available to populations around the world. Here are 10 lessons to guide countries and other specialized international organizations ensure the global deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.