DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh will receive $500 million from the World Bank to boost its COVID-19 vaccination drive, the global financial institution announced on Friday.

The additional financing from the bank’s International Development Association (IDA) will help Bangladesh distribute vaccines to 31% of its population, support the government’s plan to cover 40% of its people in the first phase, read a World Bank statement.

“This financing will help Bangladesh strengthen its national systems to ensure the prompt delivery of vaccines to one-third of its population,” said Mercy Tembon, the bank’s country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

“Bangladesh has taken quick action to combat COVID-19 by rolling out a national vaccination program. To achieve the objectives of the program, fast and equitable access to vaccines will be important.”

The South Asian country of some 165 million people started nationwide vaccinations on Feb. 7 and has administered 4.7 million vaccine doses so far, with 3 million of the recipients being men and 1.7 million women.

According to the latest government figures, the overall COVID-19 case count in Bangladesh currently stands at 566,838, including 8,642 deaths and 519,141 recoveries.

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