To fight COVID-19
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a loan program that will support developing countries in procuring and delivering effective and safe coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.
In a statement, Masatsugu Asakawa, ADB president, said the Manila-based multilateral institution introduced a $9 billion vaccine initiative, called “Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX)”, offering rapid and equitable support to its developing members.
“As ADB’s developing members prepare to vaccinate their people as soon as possible, they need financing to procure vaccines as well as appropriate plans and knowledge to be able to safely, equitably, and efficiently manage the vaccination process,” Asakawa said.
“APVAX will play a critical role in helping our developing members meet these challenges, overcome the pandemic, and focus on economic recovery,” he added.
More than 14.3 million positive cases have been identified in Asia and the Pacific, causing more than 200,000 deaths.
As the pandemic persists, economic growth in developing Asia is projected to contract by 0.4 percent this year—the first regional contraction since the early 1960s.
“Promoting safe, equitable, and effective access to vaccines is a top priority for ADB’s COVID-19 response efforts,” the bank said.
“Vaccination programs can break the chain of virus transmission, save lives, and mitigate the negative economic impacts of the pandemic by restoring confidence in people’s ability to work, travel, and socialize safely,” it added.
The APVAX provides a comprehensive framework and resource envelope for supporting developing Asia’s vaccine access, using two complementary components.
The Rapid Response Component will provide timely support for critical vaccine diagnostics, procurement of vaccines, and transporting vaccines from the place of purchase to ADB’s developing members.
The Project Investment Component will support investments in systems for successful distribution, delivery, and administration of vaccines along with associated investments in building capacity, community outreach, and surveillance.
This may include such areas as cold-chain storage and transportation, vehicles, distribution infrastructure, processing facilities, and other physical investments. The component may also be used to develop or expand vaccine manufacturing capacity in developing members.
ADB financing for vaccines will be provided in close coordination with other development partners including the World Bank Group, World Health Organization, COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, GAVI, and bilateral and multilateral partners.