The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $940 million loan package to Bangladesh for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.
The package consists of a regular loan and a concessional loan, each amounting to $470 million, the regional development bank said in a statement on Tuesday, reports bdnews24.com.
An estimated 44.7 million doses of coronavirus vaccines may be purchased with the funds and administered to over 20 million Bangladeshis by 2024.
The vaccines may be bought via the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX, program, the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, or bilateral arrangements with vaccine manufacturers or distributors, ADB said.
The funds are part of the $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to provide member countries with vaccine-related support.
“Vaccination programs can break the chain of virus transmission, save lives, and mitigate the negative economic impacts of the pandemic,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
“This project is a continuation of ADB’s ongoing support to Bangladesh’s COVID-19 pandemic response in order to protect its population from the virus, rebuild the livelihoods of vulnerable groups, and work to return its economy to its impressive growth path.”
ADB has provided $1.7 million in ongoing technical assistance to Bangladesh to strengthen its vaccine delivery system.
The bank has also given several rounds of loans to the Bangladesh government to help aid its efforts to combat the pandemic.
In June 2021 it provided a $250 million loan to strengthen social protections in the wake of the pandemic. In May 2020 a $500 million loan was approved to expand social safety nets for vulnerable groups, to support labour-intensive industries and to save jobs in small and medium industries. It also gave Bangladesh a $100 million loan in April 2020 to help procure equipment and supplies to upgrade health and testing facilities.