Asian Development Bank approves $940M loan

by Sami Burgaz
Asian Development Bank Headquarters
Loan will fund 44.7M doses to be administered to 20M people by 2024.

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday that it approved a $940 million loan package for Bangladesh to purchase 44.7M coronavirus vaccine doses that will be administered to more than 20 million people.

The doses will be given to Bangladeshis by 2024, contributing to the government’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines with safe and effective vaccines, according to a statement by the ADB.

“The loan package comprises a regular loan and a concessional loan of $470 million each, is part of ADB’s $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX) launched in December 2020 to offer rapid and equitable vaccine-related support to ADB’s developing member countries,” it said.

The vaccines will be secured through the COVAX program, UNICEF, or bilateral arrangements with vaccine manufacturers or distributors.

“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,” said Asian Development Bank President Masatsugu Asakawa.

Vaccines eligible for financing must meet APVAX eligibility criteria, it added.

COVID-19 situation worsening

Bangladesh continues to experience a rise in infections with a two-month daily high Tuesday of 4,846 cases along with 76 deaths. Fatalities reached 13,702 while the number of infections rose to 861,150.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said the US announced it would provide 16 million doses to 18 countries, including Bangladesh.

The south Asian country of 165 million has inoculated 3% of its population while 1.5 million seem to be deprived of a second dose of the AstraZeneca jab as vaccine stocks have run out because of a supply suspension from India.

Surging infections forced the government to suspend road and rail communication with the capital, Dhaka, and the rest of the country beginning Tuesday.

Earlier, Bangladesh extended a nationwide lockdown which was in place from April 5 to July 15.


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