Manila [Philippines]: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a USD 500 million loan to help Pakistan procure and deploy safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and strengthen the country’s capacity to implement its vaccination program.
An ADB press release said that the project will support Pakistan’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan by purchasing and delivering an estimated 39.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, safety boxes, and syringes. It is financed through ADB’s USD 9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to offer rapid and equitable vaccine-related support to ADB developing member countries, ADB release said.
“Vaccines help to reduce the spread and mortality of COVID-19, restore confidence among citizens, and are vital to the economic recovery,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “This project will help to protect vulnerable groups in Pakistan and is an integral part of the development partner package helping the government to mitigate the health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic. ADB reaffirms its full commitment to support Pakistan.”
Amid the Pakistani government’s aim to vaccinate its entire eligible population, ADB’s COVID-19 Vaccine Support Project will provide financing to vaccinate over 18 million people from priority groups or about 15 per cent of the eligible population.
ADB’s assistance will also help to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, and the federal expanded programme on immunization to effectively implement the COVID-19 vaccination program.
The project builds on ADB’s earlier support for Pakistan’s COVID-19 response. This includes a USD 300 million emergency assistance loan to strengthen Pakistan’s public health response, expand treatment of COVID-19 cases, and provide cash transfers to the poorest families.
A USD 500 million COVID-19 active response and expenditure support program loan was approved to support cash transfers to poor families adversely affected by COVID-19-related lockdowns and other government initiatives designed to alleviate the negative economic and social impacts of the pandemic. (ANI)