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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

ADB prepares for vaccine financing

ADB sets US$9 billion for COVID-19 vaccines

MANILA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today said they launched a US$9 billion vaccine initiative called the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX) offering rapid and equitable support to its developing members as they purchase and deliver effective and safe coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.

“As ADB’s developing members prepare to vaccinate their people as soon as possible, they need financing to procure vaccines as well as appropriate plans and knowledge to be able to safely, equitably, and efficiently manage the vaccination process,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa in a statement released late Friday afternoon.

To date, there are 14.3 million positive cases in the Asia and the Pacific which resulted into the deaths of more than 200,000. As the pandemic continues, economic growth in developing Asia is projected to contract by 0.4% this year, with the first regional gross domestic product contraction since the early 1960s.

The ADB said it is their priority to promote safe, equitable, and effective access to vaccines for the bank’s COVID-19 response efforts. Vaccination programs can break the chain of virus transmission, save lives, and mitigate the negative economic impacts of the pandemic by restoring confidence in people’s ability to work, travel and socialize safely.

The APVAX sets a comprehensive framework and resource envelope for supporting developing Asia’s vaccine access, using two complementary components. The Rapid Response Component will provide immediate support for critical vaccine diagnostics, procurement of vaccines, and transporting vaccines from the place of purchase to ADB’s developing members.

Meanwhile, the Project Investment Component will support investments in systems for successful distribution, delivery, and administration of vaccines along with associated investments in building capacity, community outreach, and surveillance. This may comprise areas such as cold-chain storage and transportation, vehicles, distribution infrastructure, processing facilities, and other physical investments. The component may also be tapped to develop or expand vaccine manufacturing capacity in developing members.

The ADB financing for vaccines will be provided in close coordination with other development partners, including the World Bank Group, World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-10 Global Access Facility (COVAX), GAVI, and bilateral and multilateral partners.

ADB said for a vaccine to be eligible for financing, it must meet one of three criteria. It must be procured via COVAX, prequalified by WHO, or authorized by a Stringent Regulatory Authority. Additional access criteria, such as vaccination needs assessment, a vaccine allocation plan by the developing member, and a mechanism for effective coordination among development partners also help ensure that vaccine support under APVAX can be fairly and effectively implemented.

The regional bank is preparing a US$500 million Vaccine Import Facility to support efforts of its developing members to purchase safe and effective vaccines and as the foods that support distribution and inoculation. The facility is part of the Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program of the ADB. Triple A guarantees available through the program’s vaccine import facility will lessen payment risks and facilitate import of these goods. This will need the same eligibility criteria as COVAX. Co-financing with private sector partners could result in the Import Facility supporting US$1 billion in vaccine and related imports within a year. (Melo M. Acuña)

ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. (Screen grab from ADB Video on APVAX/Melo M. Acuna)

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