The Asian Development Bank has reportedly approved the Government of India a USD 1.5 billion loan to purchase COVID-19 vaccines. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is expected to co-finance an additional USD 500 million for the project.
The loans will likely go towards the purchase of 667 million vaccine shots, enough to vaccinate an estimated 317 million people. The proceeds will substantially help the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan of India seeking to fully vaccinate 944.7 million adults or 68.9% of the country's population.
The priority will be given to healthcare and front-line employees, senior citizens, and people in the age group of 45–59 years with comorbidities.
In this context, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa stated that the funding would support the government safeguard its residents from further spread of the disease and save lives.
Vaccines are crucial in overcoming the repercussions of the pandemic on health and the economy and revive the economic activity, restore livelihoods, support health services, and reopen educational institutions, he continued.
The ADB already has a USD 4 million technical assistance fund assigned to boost India's vaccination distribution system, with USD 2 million coming from the bank’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction.
The support is offered in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). The project is part of the Asian Development Bank's USD 9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility introduced in December 2020, which will provide vaccine-related assistance to developing member nations, said ADB.
In addition, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a USD 1.5 billion COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Program in 2020 for immediate COVID-19 relief. A USD 300 million loan has also been approved to expand basic health care access; sources cited.
The Asian Development Bank, founded in 1966, is dedicated to establishing a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while fighting extreme poverty.