The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated $20.3 million to help its developing members access vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and establish systems that will allow equitable and efficient vaccine distribution.
In a statement, the ADB said yesterday technical assistance funds will be available for developing members to support vaccine-related health system assessments and the development of country readiness plans to strengthen the capacity to access, introduce, deploy, deliver and monitor vaccines safely and effectively.
Funds will help members assess and strengthen vaccine cold chain and logistics, infection control, supply and skills of health workers, risk communications, and real-time data capturing and monitoring, the ADB said.
The technical assistance will also support the identification and promotion of innovative cold chain and vaccine tracking technologies, it added.
“Asia and the Pacific has largely done well to limit the spread of COVID-19. Ensuring access to a safe, effective, and equitable vaccine is the next frontier in the fight against this virus,” Woochong Um, director general of ADB’s Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, said.
“With these additional grant resources, ADB can immediately support our developing members to undertake urgent actions, including vaccine system assessments and vaccine deployment strategies, to ensure vaccines are delivered efficiently and fairly,” Um added.
Carlos Dominguez, the Philippines’ finance secretary, has been sought for comment in a Viber group with reporters if the Philippines will tap the ADB’s technical assistance, but he has not yet responded as of press time.
ADB said it expects to implement the technical assistance with its partners United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization, in coordination with COVAX, Gavi, the World Bank, bilateral agencies, among others.
The funds comprise $20 million from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund and $300,000 from the High-Level Technology Fund financed by the Government of Japan.