Asian Development Bank approves USD 1.5 billion loan to India to buy COVID-19 vaccines


New Delhi: The Asian Development Bank has approved a USD 1.5 billion (approximately Rs 11,185 crore) loan to India for COVID-19 vaccine purchase.

“ADB today approved a USD 1.5 billion loan to help the Indian government purchase safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19),” ADB said in a release on Thursday.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is expected to co-finance an additional USD 500 million for the project, it said.

Beijing-based AIIB is a multilateral development bank focused on developing Asia.

It has members from all over the world.

It said ADB’s loan would provide at least 667 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for an estimated 317 million people.

The Manila-headquartered agency said it would support India’s National Deployment and Immunization Plan, which aims to fully vaccinate 94.47 million people aged 18 and above, which is 68.9 percent of the population.

Priority groups include health care and frontline workers, senior citizens, and people over the age of 45? With the age of 59 years.

“ADB’s support will help the government protect its citizens from further transmission of the disease and save lives,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.

Asakawa said vaccines are critical to overcoming the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic, including rejuvenating economic activity, maintaining health services, restoring livelihoods and reopening educational institutions.

ADB’s USD 4 million (approximately Rs 30 crore) technical assistance program is underway in the country, including USD 2 million support from ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Alleviation.

ADB said it is helping strengthen India’s vaccine delivery system.

This technical assistance program includes improving monitoring of biomedical waste management, risk communication and community engagement to raise awareness of the benefits of COVID-19 appropriate treatment and vaccination, with a focus on women and vulnerable groups.

The assistance is being provided in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

In 2020, ADB approved a USD 1.5 billion COVID-19 Proactive Response and Expenditure Support Program to support India’s immediate pandemic response efforts.

It also approved a further USD 300 million loan to strengthen and improve access to comprehensive primary healthcare in urban areas and better respond to future pandemics and other emergencies.

ADB said the project is financed through the US$9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to provide rapid and equitable vaccine-related assistance to ADB developing member countries.

Established in 1966, ADB is owned by 68 members, 49 of whom are from the Asia Pacific region.

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