The Asian Development Bank (ADB) authorized a $500 million loan for Pakistan on Friday to assist the government in purchasing and deploying Covid-19 vaccines, as well as strengthening its capacity to implement the immunization program.
According to a statement issued by the ADB on Friday, the project would boost Pakistan’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan by purchasing and distributing an estimated 39.8 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, safety boxes, and syringes.
The project is funded by ADB’s $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility, which was established in December 2020 to provide timely and equitable vaccine-related assistance to ADB developing member countries.
Vaccines serve to minimize the spread and mortality of Covid-19, restore citizen confidence, and are critical to economic recovery, according to ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa, who was quoted in the release. “This initiative will help to safeguard vulnerable individuals in Pakistan and is an essential component of the development partner package assisting the government in mitigating the pandemic’s health, social, and economic impacts.”
The project builds on the Manila-based agency’s previous support for Pakistan, which included a $300 million emergency assistance loan in May last year, to strengthen the country’s public health response, expand Covid-19 treatment, and providing cash transfers to the poorest families.
In June of last year, a $500 million Active Response and Expenditure Fund Program loan was granted to support cash transfers to impoverished families impacted by Covid-19-related lockdowns, as well as other government programs aimed at mitigating the pandemic’s severe economic and social repercussions.
In addition, a $2 million grant was awarded in March of last year through the Asia Pacific Disaster Relief Assist to fund the rapid acquisition of emergency medical supplies and equipment.
The assistance comes only days after the World Bank Group’s South Asia regional vice president, Hartwig Schafer, revealed that $150 million had been redirected to Pakistan for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccinations.