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ADB allocates $25 million for advance vaccine payments
This $125-million loan program was under the Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 project meant to help the government improve its pandemic control capacity. The country has so far reported more than 500,000 COVID-19 cases.
STAR/ File

ADB allocates $25 million for advance vaccine payments

Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - February 2, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated $25 million of its $125-million loan approved for the Philippines in August to enable the country to make advance payments for the purchase of vaccines for COVID-19.

This $125-million loan program was under the Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit (HEAL) COVID-19 project meant to help the government improve its pandemic control capacity. The country has so far reported more than 500,000 COVID-19 cases.

“The Philippines launched a comprehensive economic stimulus and health care support program following the surge in COVID-19 cases in April 2020. It has significantly improved its capacity in testing, tracing, isolating and treating COVID-19 cases in the last 10 months. Vaccination is the next critical step to protect lives and promote livelihood opportunities,” said ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa in a statement yesterday.

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

ADB said advance payments to be made under the new allocation would follow the vaccine access and eligibility requirements under its Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX).

For a vaccine to be eligible for financing, it should meet one of these criteria: it must be procured via COVAX, prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) or authorized by a stringent regulatory authority for manufacture in an SRA country or authorized by an SRA country for manufacture in a non-SRA country.

APVAX, launched in December, has a financing commitment of $9 billion for the region from which the Philippines can access up to $500 million based on its population size. The country, however, is seeking only $325 million from the facility.

The government’s vaccination roadmap seeks to cover 60 percent to 75 percent of the population and may involve several vaccine developers. – Jose Rodel Clapano

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