Philippines secures $ 900 million in World Bank and AfDB loans for COVID-19 vaccines
MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines on Friday received a total of $ 900 million in loan commitments from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to purchase COVID-19 vaccines and to help their economy affected by the pandemic to recover, lenders said Friday.
Despite having one of the region’s highest number of coronavirus cases, the Philippines is catching up with some of its neighbors in purchasing vaccines and was one of the last countries in Southeast Asia to receive its first doses.
“The purchase and administration of vaccines provides the country with an additional layer of defense against COVID-19 in addition to public health measures,” said Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, in a statement.
The World Bank has provided funding of $ 500 million for the purchase and distribution of vaccines and to strengthen the country’s health systems. In May, he granted a $ 500 million loan to help Filipinos who lost their jobs during the lockdowns.
In addition, the ADB has allocated $ 400 million to the Philippines, the first beneficiary of its program to support access to vaccines.
The Philippines, which began its vaccination program on March 1 with 600,000 doses of Sinovac donated by China, is battling a further rise in COVID-19 cases.
The country, which aims to immunize 70 million of its more than 108 million people, is in talks with vaccine manufacturers to purchase 161 million doses.
Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Ed Davikes