The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday approved a $1.5 billion loan to India to purchase safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is expected to co-finance an additional $500 million for the project, ADB said in a statement.
The loans will fund at least 667 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for an estimated 317 million people and will support India’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan, which aims to fully vaccinate 944.7 million people aged 18 years and above, accounting for 68.9 percent of the population, it said.
Priority groups for the vaccination include healthcare and frontline workers, senior citizens, and those aged 45–59 years with comorbidities.
“ADB’s support will help the government protect its citizens from further transmission of this disease and save lives,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
“Vaccines are critical in overcoming the intertwined health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic, including rejuvenating economic activities, sustaining health services, restoration of livelihoods, and reopening of educational institutions, with renewed focus on social and human development priorities.”
ADB said a technical assistance grant of $4 million, which includes $2 million support from ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, is helping strengthen India’s vaccine delivery system.
This includes improving the monitoring of biomedical waste management, risk communication, and community engagement to raise awareness on COVID-19-appropriate behavior and the benefits of vaccination, with a focus on women and vulnerable groups.
This support is being provided in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the bank said.
The project is financed through ADB’s $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to provide rapid and equitable vaccine-related support to developing member countries.
(Edited by : Bivekananda Biswas)
First Published: IST