ADB allocates over 20 mln USD to help developing members access COVID-19 vaccines

(File Photo: Agencies)

MANILA, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Tuesday that it had allocated 20.3 million U.S. dollars in technical assistance to help its developing members access vaccines for COVID-19 and establish systems to enable equitable and efficient vaccine distribution.

The Manila-based bank said the funds will be available for ADB developing members to support vaccine-related health system assessments and the development of country readiness plans to strengthen the capacity to access, introduce, deploy, deliver, and monitor vaccines safely and effectively.

The ADB said the funds will help members assess and strengthen vaccine cold chain and logistics, infection control, supply and skills of health workers, risk communications, and real-time data capturing and monitoring.

It added that technical assistance will also support the identification and promotion of innovative cold chain and vaccine tracking technologies.

Woochong Um, the director-general of ADB's Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, said Asia and the Pacific "has largely done well to limit the spread of COVID-19."

"Ensuring access to a safe, effective, and equitable vaccine is the next frontier in the fight against this virus," he said.

With these additional grant resources, he said the ADB can immediately support its developing members "to undertake urgent actions, including vaccine system assessments and vaccine deployment strategies, to ensure vaccines are delivered efficiently and fairly."

ADB expects to implement technical assistance with its partners the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organization, in coordination with COVAX, Gavi, the World Bank and bilateral agencies among others.

ADB approved a 20-billion-U.S. dollar expanded assistance package in April to support its developing members' COVID-19 response.