ADB approves $940m loan for vaccine purchase

The Asian Development Bank yesterday approved a loan package of $940 million for Bangladesh to help the country buy Covid-19 vaccines.

The package comprises a regular loan and a concessional loan of $470 million each, the Manila-based lender said in a press release.

This is part of the bank's $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to offer rapid and equitable vaccine-related support to the ADB's developing member countries.

"Vaccination programmes can break the chain of virus transmission, save lives, and mitigate the negative economic impacts of the pandemic," said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.

"This project is a continuation of ADB's ongoing support to Bangladesh's Covid-19 pandemic response in order to protect its population from the virus, rebuild the livelihoods of vulnerable groups, and work to return its economy to its impressive growth path."

The project will fund the purchase of an estimated 44.7 million doses of vaccines to be administered to more than 20 million Bangladeshis by 2024, the press release said.

The vaccines will be secured through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) programme, the United Nations Children's Fund, or bilateral arrangements with vaccine manufacturers or distributors.

After around two months, the administration of the first dose of Covid-19 vaccines resumed in Bangladesh on June 19 on a limited scale with around 11 lakh Chinese Sinopharm jabs in hand.

The government had suspended the countrywide administration of the first dose on April 26 due to a shortage of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the Serum Institute of India.

The ADB supported Bangladesh's Covid-19 response through a $250 million loan in June 2021 to strengthen social protection and resilience programmes and a $500 million loan in May 2020 for expanding social safety nets for vulnerable groups and supporting critical labour-intensive industries and small and medium enterprises to preserve jobs.


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