The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $500 million to help the Government of Pakistan procure and deploy safe and effective coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines and strengthen the country’s capacity to implement its vaccination program.
ADB President, Masatsugu Asakawa, said, “Vaccines help to reduce the spread and mortality of COVID-19, restore confidence among citizens, and are vital to the economic recovery”.
He added, “This project will help to protect vulnerable groups in Pakistan and is an integral part of the development partner package helping the government to mitigate the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic. ADB reaffirms its full commitment to supporting Pakistan”.
The project will support Pakistan’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan by purchasing and delivering around 39.8 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, safety boxes, and syringes that will be sufficient to vaccinate at least 18.1 million people from priority groups.
The government aims to vaccinate the entire eligible population of around 119 million people comprising those aged 18 and above while prioritizing frontline healthcare workers, the elderly, and marginalized groups (including refugees and internally displaced persons), and people with co-morbidities.
The project is financed through ADB’s $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to offer rapid and equitable vaccine-related support to ADB developing member countries.
ADB’s assistance will also help to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, and the Federal Expanded Program on Immunization to effectively implement the COVID-19 vaccination program.
Both institutions will receive support in project management and coordination, procurement and supply chain management, gender mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation, performance and information systems audits, and waste management.
The project builds on the ADB’s earlier support for Pakistan’s COVID-19 response. This includes a $300 million emergency assistance loan to strengthen Pakistan’s public health response and expand its treatment of COVID-19 cases.
A $500 million COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support program loan was approved to support cash transfers to poor families and other government initiatives designed to alleviate the negative economic and social impacts of the pandemic, as well as a $2 million grant under the Asia Pacific Disaster Relief Fund to fund the immediate purchase of emergency medical supplies and equipment.