ADB launches $9 billion COVID-19 vaccine initiative for its developing member economies

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Updated: December 11, 2020 5:43 PM

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday said it has launched a USD 9 billion vaccine initiative that will offer support to its developing member economies to procure and deliver COVID-19 vaccines.

Earlier, the DBT had announced programmes for vaccine development and other COVID-related solutions, but this mission will be dedicated purely for development of vaccines, a DBT official said.ADB said more than 14.3 million positive cases have been identified in Asia and the Pacific, causing more than 2,00,000 deaths.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday said it has launched a USD 9-billion initiative that will offer support to its developing member economies to procure and deliver COVID-19 vaccines. ADB has launched a USD 9-billion vaccine initiative, the Asia-Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX), offering support to its developing members as they procure and deliver vaccines for COVID-19, it said in a release.

ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said, “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…manage the vaccination process.” He further noted that APVAX will play a critical role to help its developing members meet challenges to overcome the pandemic and focus on economic recovery.

ADB said that over 14.3 million COVID-19 positive cases have been identified in the Asia-Pacific region, causing more than 2 lakh deaths. As the pandemic persists, the Asian economy is projected to contract by 0.4 per cent in 2020, the first regional gross domestic product contraction since the early 1960s, it added. Besides,

ADB is also making available a USD 500-million vaccine import facility to support the efforts of the developing members to secure safe and effective vaccines, as well as the goods that support distribution and inoculation.

APVAX provides a comprehensive framework and resource envelope for supporting Asia’s vaccine programmes, it said. Under this, 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 said.

The Manila-headquartered multilateral funding agency said, “Promoting safe, equitable, and effective access to vaccines is a top priority for ADB’s COVID-19 response efforts.”

It added that vaccination programmes can break the chain of virus transmission, save lives, and mitigate the negative economic impacts of the pandemic.

The ADB’s financing for vaccines will be provided in close coordination with other development partners including the World Bank Group, World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), GAVI, and bilateral and multilateral partners. APVAX promotes safe and effective vaccines to be accessed in a fair manner, it said further.

For a vaccine to be eligible for financing, it must meet one of three criteria, ADB said, adding that it must be procured via COVAX, prequalified by WHO, or authorised by a stringent regulatory authority.

The USD 500-million vaccine import facility is part of ADB’s trade and supply chain finance programme. Co-financing with private sector partners could result in the import facility supporting USD 1 billion in vaccine and related imports within a year.

In April, ADB approved a USD 20-billion package to support its developing members in addressing the impacts of the pandemic and streamlined some procedures to deliver quicker and more flexible assistance.

It has committed USD 14.9 billion in loans, grants, and technical assistance, including USD 9.9 billion in quick-disbursing budget support from the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option (CPRO) and support for the private sector.

In November, it announced USD 20.3 million in additional technical assistance to establish systems to enable efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines across Asia and the Pacific.

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