The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a $9 billion vaccine initiative for their member countries to procure and deliver Covid-19 vaccines effectively.
The Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX) - an initiative which aims to offer rapid and equitable support to its developing members, according to a press release.
ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said, "As ADB's developing members prepare to vaccinate their people as soon as possible, they need financing to procure vaccines as well as appropriate plans and knowledge to be able to safely, equitably, and efficiently manage the vaccination process," "
"APVAX will play a critical role in helping our developing members meet these challenges, overcome the pandemic, and focus on economic recovery," he added.
The APVAX provides a comprehensive framework and resource envelope for supporting developing Asia's vaccine access, using two complementary components. The Rapid Response Component will provide timely support for critical vaccine diagnostics, procurement of vaccines, and transporting vaccines from the place of purchase to ADB's developing members, the press release read.
The Project Investment Component will support investments in systems for successful distribution, delivery, and administration of vaccines along with associated investments in building capacity, community outreach, and surveillance, it further said.
This may include such areas as cold-chain storage and transportation, vehicles, distribution infrastructure, processing facilities, and other physical investments. The component may also be used to develop or expand vaccine manufacturing capacity in developing members.
ADB financing for vaccines will be provided in close coordination with other development partners including the World Bank Group, World Health Organization (WHO), Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), GAVI, and bilateral and multilateral partners.
More than 14.3 million positive cases have been identified in Asia and the Pacific, causing more than 200,000 deaths. As the pandemic persists, economic growth in developing Asia is projected to contract by 0.4% in 2020—the first regional gross domestic product contraction since the early 1960s.
Earlier, in April, ADB approved a $20 billion package to support its developing members in addressing the impacts of the pandemic and streamlined some procedures to deliver quicker and more flexible assistance.
In November, ADB announced $20.3 million in additional technical assistance to establish systems to enable efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines across Asia and the Pacific.