The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday approved a loan of $165 million for the Government of Nepal to purchase safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19.
The project will support the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan in Nepal by procuring an estimated 15.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which will benefit about 6.8 million Nepalis, as per a press statement issued by ADB.
“ADB’s support will help the Government of Nepal procure much-needed COVID-19 vaccines to protect its citizens from the further spread of this disease,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
“It is essential that COVID-19 vaccines are quickly purchased and administered to help get the economy back on track by enabling the restoration of livelihoods and economic activities, as well as the resumption of educational and human development pursuits.”
The project is financed by ADB’s $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to offer rapid and equitable vaccine-related support to ADB developing member countries.
Vaccines eligible for financing must meet at least one of the APVAX eligibility criteria: the vaccine has been selected for procurement through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) mechanism; the vaccine has been prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) or WHO emergency use listing; or the vaccine has received regular or emergency licensure or authorization by a Stringent Regulatory Authority.
In addition to this project, ADB’s ongoing technical assistance grants will support the strengthening of the vaccine delivery system, communication, and community engagement to raise awareness on the risks of COVID-19 and the benefits of vaccination.
Nepal government is mobilizing female community health volunteers to disseminate information among marginalized communities to raise awareness. At least one female health worker or volunteer will support the effort in every vaccination site or outreach center.
ADB closely collaborates with other partners, like the World Bank, COVAX, WHO, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in supporting the Government of Nepal in its efforts to vaccinate its people as soon as possible.
The project will complement the government’s broader response through its $1.2 billion National Relief Program, which consists of social protection, health care, and economic relief measures. In May 2020, ADB provided support to the program through a $250 million concessional loan, read the press statement.