The Asian Development Bank approved a loan of $1.5 billion to the Indian government for purchase of COVID-19 vaccines. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is expected to co-finance another $500 million for the project.
The loans are likely to fund the procurement of 667 million vaccine doses that could be used to inoculate an estimated 317 million people. The financier aims to support India’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan that aims to fully vaccinate 944.7 million adults, accounting for 68.9 per cent of the population.
ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said, “ADB’s support will help the government protect its citizens from further transmission of this disease and save lives. Vaccines are critical in overcoming the intertwined health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic, including rejuvenating economic activities, sustaining health services, restoration of livelihoods, and reopening of educational institutions, with renewed focus on social and human development priorities.”
The ADB already has an ongoing technical assistance grant of $4 million, including $2 million from ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, to strengthen India’s vaccine delivery system.
“This includes improving the monitoring of biomedical waste management, risk communication, and community engagement to raise awareness on COVID-19-appropriate behavior and the benefits of vaccination, with a focus on women and vulnerable groups,” stated ADB. This assistance if being provided along with World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The project is part of ADB’s $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to provide vaccine-related support to developing member countries.
Moreover, in 2020, ADB approved a $1.5 billion COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Program for immediate COVID-19 relief. Another $300 million loan was approved to improve access to primary health care.
Copyright©2021 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today