The World Bank announced on Thursday that Nigeria would be receiving a $400 million credit so that the country could acquire and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens.
The organization said that the credit, which was approved by its board of directors, was being given to Nigeria so that the country would be able to purchase enough vaccines for 18 percent of its population and “support effective vaccine deployment to 50 percent” of its citizens.
The World Bank said in a statement that the additional funding, provided through the International Development Association, would also allow the country to “strengthen relevant health systems that are necessary for a successful deployment and to prepare for future health emergencies.”
The international organization noted that the additional financing would help Nigeria vaccinate 51 percent of its citizens in two years. According to the BBC, less than 3 percent of its population is currently fully vaccinated.
The announcement comes as leaders from several African nations last month lamented what one president dubbed as “vaccine apartheid,” blasting countries that are already dolling out booster COVID-19 shots as some countries in Africa struggle to secure vaccine doses to inoculate their residents with their first shots.
“These disparities allow for third doses to be given, in some cases, while, in other cases, as in Africa, the vast majority of the population has not even received the first dose,” Angola’s President João Lourenço said during the U.N. General Assembly, according to The Associated Press.
During the U.N. General Assembly, several world leaders called for intellectual property rights to be relaxed so that countries could make their own vaccines.
The disparity among which African countries have been able to meet the World Health Assembly’s worldwide goal to have at least 10 percent of citizens from each country fully vaccinated by Sept. 30 is stark: The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday that only 15 of the continent’s 54 nations had met that target.
WHO acknowledged that many of the countries that were able to meet that goal had smaller populations, and 40 percent were “small island developing states.”