ADB sets funding for PH’s vaccine purchase

Published February 1, 2021, 1:04 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is preparing additional funding support for the government’s purchase of coronavirus vaccines following the initial loan allotment for this year.

In a statement, the Manila-based multilateral financial institution said a follow-on support is being considered by the ADB board for the Philippines, which will be on top of the $25 million loan announced yesterday.

“It will allow the Philippine government to pay vaccine manufacturers in advance to secure the delivery of vaccines to its citizens,” the bank said.

According to the ADB, it has also provided technical advisory assistance to the government on its national vaccine plan in coordination with a working group created by the Department of Finance.

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“The government’s vaccine supply contracts with ADB financing, including direct payments by ADB to vaccine manufacturers, will follow ADB’s procurement rules and guidelines, and ADB’s anti-corruption and integrity policy,” the bank said.

“The financing will also follow global best practices on safeguards measures, including waste management of medical supplies,” it added.

ADB added that the newly allocated funding for vaccine supply will follow the vaccine access and eligibility requirements set by the bank under its $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX).

The Duterte administration has developed a COVID-19 vaccine road map, which aims to immunize 60 percent to 75 percent of Filipinos. The government is currently negotiating vaccine delivery with several vaccine developers.

Meanwhile, ADB said the $25 million loan to the Philippines will come from the $125 million health system enhancement to address and limit COVID-19 project, which it approved in August 2020. 

The Philippines launched a comprehensive economic stimulus and healthcare support program following the surge in COVID-19 cases in April 2020. The country has reported more than 500,000 cases.

ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said the Philippines nation has significantly improved its capacity in testing, tracing, isolating, and treating COVID-19 cases in the last 10 months.

For this reason, Asakawa said that vaccination is the next critical step to protect lives and promote livelihood opportunities.

“We stand ready to support the government in these unprecedented times and help the economy navigate back to its pre-pandemic growth path,” Asakawa assured.