The Asian Development Bank on Friday approved a USD 500 million loan for debt-ridden Pakistan to help it buy coronavirus vaccines. The loan was sanctioned under ADB's USD 9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said in a statement.
The financial aid will strengthen Pakistan's capacity to implement its vaccination programme by enabling it to purchase an estimated 39.8 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, safety boxes, and syringes. The ADB chief said Pakistan was aiming to vaccinate the entire eligible population around 119 million people comprising all those aged 18 years and above.
ADB's Covid-19 vaccine support project will provide financing to vaccinate over 18m people from priority groups, he said, adding that those groups include frontline health care workers, the elderly, marginalised groups including refugees and internally displaced persons, and people with comorbidities. The ADB is helping Pakistan in fighting the pandemic and it in May last year had approved a $300 million emergency assistance for Pakistan to strengthen its public health response to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the health ministry, over 35.3 million doses have been administered so far in Pakistan and the government aims at vaccinating over 70 million people by the end of this year.