ADB provides $25M for PH vaccines

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    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated $25 million, or around P1.2 billion, to help the Philippines procure vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

    The ADB said in a statement yesterday the financing will come from the $125 million Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 project, which ADB approved on August 24, 2020.

    The multilateral agency said it will allow the Philippine government to pay vaccine manufacturers in advance to secure the delivery of vaccines.

    “The Philippines launched a comprehensive economic stimulus and healthcare 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,” Masatsugu Asakawa, ADB president, said.

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

    The newly allocated funding for vaccine supply will follow the vaccine access and eligibility requirements under ADB’s Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX), which was launched on December 11 with a financing commitment of $9 billion for the region.

    To supplement the $25 million financing, ADB said it is preparing a follow-on project under APVAX for consideration by ADB’s Board of Directors to support the government’s efforts to procure vaccines.

    Meanwhile, ADB is providing technical advisory assistance to the government on the national vaccine roadmap through a development partner coordination working group created by the Department of Finance.

    “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 financing will also follow global best practices on safeguards measures, including waste management of medical supplies,” the multilateral agency said.

    In a separate statement yesterday, the Department of Budget and Management assured the public that government agencies are working closely to properly implement COVID-19 vaccination rollouts over the next few months.

    Wendel Avisado, budget secretary, said the COVID-19 vaccine budget will not solely go to securing doses, but will also include logistics costs to effectively acquire, store and distribute them.

    The budget chief also said the department and other concerned agencies are acting urgently with regards to the acquisition of vaccines, and that it remains the government’s top priority. He added the budget is ready the moment that it is needed.