PH secures $900M from WB, ADB to buy more vaccines

THE Philippines has secured a total of $900 million (about P43.65 billion) worth of financing from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB), which will be used to procure coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines.

In a statement on Friday, World Bank announced that its executive directors approved the $500 million in funding to support the Philippine government’s program to purchase and distribute Covid-19 vaccines, strengthen the country’s health systems, and overcome the impact of the pandemic, especially on the poor and the most vulnerable.

It said the newly approved financing will support the Philippines to vaccinate the population based on vulnerability and risk. Priority groups include frontline health workers, senior citizens, indigent communities, followed by priority groups of teachers, government workers, indigenous peoples, and then the remaining population.

In a separate statement, the ADB said the Philippines became the first recipient of financing support under its Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX) with approval of a $400 million loan that will help the country purchase safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus disease.

“ADB’s support will boost the Philippine government’s urgent efforts to secure and deploy Covid-19 vaccines for all Filipinos, especially those who are vulnerable, such as frontline workers, the elderly, and poor and marginalized populations, as well as those at increased risk of severe illness,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa was quoted as saying.