A.D.B. commits $22.9 billion to vaccine access

The Asian Development Bank (A.D.B.) has pledged US$9 billion (T$22.9) towards a facility to help member countries like Samoa access and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

The initiative is called the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (A.P.V.A.X.) and aims to offer support to its developing members as they procure and deliver effective and safe vaccines as soon as they can.

Pacific island countries that are developing members include Samoa; the Cook Islands; the Federated States of Micronesia; Fiji; Kiribati; the Marshall Islands; Nauru; Niue; Palau; Papua New Guinea; the Solomon Islands; Tonga; Tuvalu; and Vanuatu.

A.D.B. President Masatsugu Asakawasa said the financing is needed to procure vaccines and plans to safely, equitably, and efficiently manage the vaccination process

"A.P.V.A.X. will play a critical role in helping our developing members meet these challenges, overcome the pandemic, and focus on economic recovery," he said.

A public statement by the A.D.B. said that the bank's top priority was promoting safe, equitable, and effective access to vaccines.

It noted that with more than 14.3 million positive cases identified in the Asia Pacific region and more than 200,000 who have lost lives, vaccination programmes will be needed to save lives.

And despite Samoa having no confirmed contagious cases of COVID-19, the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, has confirmed efforts are underway by the Government to secure a batch for the country.

"The A.P.V.A.X. provides a comprehensive framework and resource envelope for supporting developing Asia’s vaccine access, using two complementary components," the bank’s statement says.

"The Rapid Response Component will provide timely support for critical vaccine diagnostics, procurement of vaccines, and transporting vaccines from the place of purchase to ADB’s developing members."

A.D.B. financing for vaccines will be provided in close coordination with other development partners including the World Bank Group, World Health Organization (W.H.O.), the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (C.O.V.A.X.), G.A.V.I. (the vaccine alliance), and bilateral and multilateral partners.

A.D.B. investment will support investments in systems for distributing, delivering, and administering vaccines along with associated investments in building capacity, community outreach, and surveillance. 

This could include developments such as cold-chain storage and transportation, vehicles, distribution infrastructure, processing facilities, and other physical investments. 

The component may also be used to develop or expand vaccine manufacturing capacity in member countries.

Additionally, the A.D.B. has prepared a $500-million import facility to support the efforts of developing members to secure safe and effective vaccines, as well as the goods that support distribution and inoculation. The facility is part of the A.D.B.’s Trade and Supply Chain Finance Programme.

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