The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday announced 25 million dollars in financial aid to help the Philippines to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.
The Manila-based bank said financing will come from a 125-million-dollar loan programme which was approved in August 2020 and aims to support the Philippine government’s efforts to handle COVID-19.
“Vaccination is the next critical step to protect lives and promote livelihood opportunities,’’ ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa said in a statement.
“We stand ready to support the government in these unprecedented times and help the economy navigate back to its pre-pandemic growth path,’’ he added.
The loan came as the World Health Organisation announced that the Philippines will be getting a total of 44 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, a global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries.
Up to 9.2 million doses are expected to be delivered to the Philippines in the first half of the year, WHO country representative, Rabindra Abeyasinghe said.
“We are optimistic that the remainder of the 44 million doses will also come later on in the year,’’ he added.
Abeyasinghe stressed that the vaccine “is just one other tool’’ in the fight against the coronavirus, adding that people should continue to wear face masks, practice hand hygiene and physical distancing to protect themselves.
He also emphasized on the need for early detection and isolation and for infected people to remain in quarantine to avoid spreading the virus.
“We can suppress transmission, we can bring back economic activity, but that needs everybody’s participation and contribution,’’ Abeyashinghe added.