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ADB provides $25 million to help PHL procure Covid vaccines

The Philippine government now has the means pay vaccine manufacturers in advance and secure Covid-19 vaccines for millions of Filipinos, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In a news statement, ADB said it has provided a $25-million funding to purchase vaccines. The amount is part of the $125-million loan for the Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit (HEAL) Covid-19 Project approved by the ADB Board in August 2020.

The Department of Health reported that as of the end of January 2021, the country has already recorded 525,618 Covid-19 cases. The total number of active cases has reached 27,318, while the virus has killed 10,749 Filipinos to date.

“The Philippines launched a comprehensive economic stimulus and health-care 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,” ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said.

“Vaccination is the next critical step to protect lives and promote livelihood opportunities. 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.

In a briefing on Monday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the funds will be used to buy all possible vaccines that will meet the standards of the ADB.

ADB said 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 in December 2020 with a financing commitment of $9 billion for the region.

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

The government has developed a Covid-19 vaccine road map to immunize 60 percent to 75 percent of Filipinos with safe and cost-effective vaccines in an equitable manner. It is negotiating vaccine delivery with several vaccine developers.

ADB is providing technical advisory assistance to the government on the national vaccine road map 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.

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