The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $250 million financing to help the Philippine government secure additional coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine supply to boost the health security of Filipinos and ensure a safe and steady economic recovery.
The assistance will allow the government to purchase 40 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines for eligible children and booster shots for adults.
ADB Principal Social Sector Specialist for Southeast Asia Sakiko Tanaka, said: “The Philippines has continuously enhanced its capacities for testing, tracing, isolating, and treating COVID-19 cases and vigorously pursued COVID-19 inoculation for its population. ADB is supporting the government’s drive to provide vaccines to protect its citizens and save lives, especially with the emergence of new COVID-19 variants. Vaccination will allow the health system to better manage the effects of the virus and will help sustain economic recovery. It is key to the country’s full recovery from the pandemic.”
The project, the Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (HEAL2) Additional Financing, will be cofinanced by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The new assistance builds on ADB’s active support for the country’s overall COVID-19 health response and its universal health care program. Under the amended Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility, or HEAL, approved in January 2021, ADB provided advance payments for vaccines and purchases of microsyringes and other vaccine-related items.
It also financed investments in health infrastructure to complement vaccine financing, such as the upgrading of laboratories and construction of isolation facilities.
Through HEAL2, approved in March 2021, ADB helped purchase 85.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines through bilateral agreements, with 81% of the supply delivered as of 2 December 2021.
This made up about half of the country’s vaccine supply as of 2 December 2021. More than 98% of the funds from HEAL2 have been committed for vaccine supply contracts as of 6 December 2021.
These supply contracts have helped the government expand its national COVID-19 vaccination program. As of 8 December 2021, more than 57 million Filipinos, or nearly 65% of the Philippines’ target population, had been vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.
On 19 November 2021, ADB approved the $600 million Build Universal Health Care Program to ensure equitable access to quality health services and financial protection for all Filipinos.
In addition to vaccine financing, ADB will continue to provide technical support to the government on health information systems, logistics, procurement, gender, and environmental issues related to medical waste.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.