PHL gets $ 250 million loan to buy vaccines


STAR PHILIPPINE / MICHAEL VARCAS

THE PHILIPPINES got a a new $ 250 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which will be used to purchase more vaccines against the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) next year.

In a statement released on Monday, the multilateral lender said it had approved the loan that would help the Philippine government acquire 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for eligible children and booster shots for adults.

“The AfDB supports the government’s desire to provide vaccines to protect its citizens and save lives, especially with the emergence of new variants of COVID-19. Vaccination will allow the health system to better manage the effects of the virus and help support economic recovery. This is the key to the country’s full recovery from the pandemic, ”Sakiko Tanaka, AfDB’s senior social sector specialist for Southeast Asia, said in a statement.

The vaccine procurement project will be co-financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which will also provide a loan of $ 250 million for the purchase of vaccines. The ADB and AIIB will pay the vaccine manufacturers directly for the doses that will be ordered by the Ministry of Health.

The ADB loan comes after the Philippines secured a new $ 600 million loan from the World Bank (WB) over the weekend. The WB loan will support the Philippine government’s reform programs, including amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Law.

These loans will be in addition to foreign government borrowing linked to the pandemic which reached $ 23.4 billion as of December 7, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said earlier.

Most of the foreign loans were used for COVID-19 response and recovery projects, including the purchase of vaccines.

The national government debt stock, both domestic and foreign, widened to 11.97 trillion pesos at the end of October. This is 19.38% more than a year earlier.

The latest data from the Department of Health showed that 37.431 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Data from Johns Hopkins University showed that 36.59% of the population had already been fully vaccinated.

The government hopes to fully immunize at least 54 million Filipinos by the end of 2021.

In March, the AfDB also helped the Philippines purchase 85.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines under bilateral agreements. As of December 2, 81% of the supply had been delivered.

In November, the AfDB approved a loan of $ 600 million to support the implementation of the country’s universal health care reform program. – LWTNoble


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