(CMC) — The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on Thursday announced what it described as “a first-of-its-kind initiative” that would help Latin American and Caribbean countries better compete to obtain lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines.
“The instrument would help both countries and vaccine makers resolve indemnity obligations, thereby removing a key obstacle to vaccine contract negotiations,” said the Washington-based financial institution in a statement.
It said the initiative also aims to help design and implement regulatory reforms that facilitate the acquisition and distribution of vaccines.
The IDB said it is the first multilateral development bank to offer such an instrument to its clients.
“Until now, governments in many countries have found it challenging to purchase vaccines while simultaneously figuring out how to satisfy pharmaceutical company concerns about the potential cost of liabilities related to the widespread use of new COVID-19 vaccines,” said the IDB, stating that Thursday’s announcement “is an attempt to empower developing nations in their vaccine discussions and provide them with a unique guarantee instrument aimed at improving the terms and conditions on which vaccines are delivered”.
“We will complement these efforts with the private sector, and seek to collaborate through the work of IDB Invest and IDB Lab,” it added.
IDB president Mauricio Claver-Carone said: “Make no mistake about it, the ability to receive and distribute vaccines is a race that will largely determine the economic and social future of countries around the world.
“Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean must receive the support needed to obtain vaccines that are critical to kickstarting economies in the Americas.”
The IDB said concerns over how to reduce the potential cost of liabilities have been a stumbling block for too long for countries desperate to obtain vaccines, end the pandemic and reverse the brutal unemployment and poverty setbacks caused by COVID-19.
“This new initiative has the potential to change the reality of many countries and improve access to vaccines, accelerate a recovery for the region, and mitigate risks for pharmaceutical companies that want to do business in Latin America and the Caribbean,” it said.