Sat. Jan 29th, 2022

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $250-million loan to help the Philippine government secure additional coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine supply to boost the health security of Filipinos and ensure a safe and steady economic recovery.

(adb.org)

The assistance will allow the government to purchase 40 million additional doses of Covid-19 vaccines for eligible children and booster shots for adults.

“The Philippines has continuously enhanced its capacities for testing, tracing, isolating, and treating Covid-19 cases and vigorously pursued Covid-19 inoculation for its population,” ADB Principal Social Sector Specialist for Southeast Asia Sakiko Tanaka said.

“ADB is supporting the government’s drive to provide vaccines to protect its citizens and save lives, especially with the emergence of new Covid-19 variants. Vaccination will allow the health system to better manage the effects of the virus and will help sustain economic recovery. It is key to the country’s full recovery from the pandemic,” she said.

The project, the Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit Covid-19 under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (HEAL2) Additional Financing, will be co-financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The new assistance builds on ADB’s active support for the country’s overall Covid-19 health response and its universal health care program. 

Under the amended Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit Covid-19 under the Asia-Pacific Vaccine Access Facility, or HEAL, approved in January 2021, ADB provided advance payments for vaccines and purchases of microsyringes and other vaccine-related items. 

It also financed investments in health infrastructure to complement vaccine financing, such as the upgrading of laboratories and construction of isolation facilities.

Through HEAL2, approved in March 2021, ADB helped purchase 85.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines through bilateral agreements, with 81 percent of the supply delivered as of 2 December 2021. This made up about half of the country’s vaccine supply as of Dec. 2, 2021. 

More than 98 percent of the funds from HEAL2 have been committed for vaccine supply contracts as of Dec. 6, 2021.

These supply contracts have helped the government expand its national Covid-19 vaccination program. 

As of Dec. 8, 2021, more than 57 million Filipinos, or nearly 65 percent of the Philippines’ target population, had been vaccinated with at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose.

On Nov. 19, 2021, ADB approved the $600-million Build Universal Health Care Program to ensure equitable access to quality health services and financial protection for all Filipinos.

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