The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday approved a $1.5 billion loan to India to help the government purchase vaccines against Covid-19. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is expected to co-finance an additional $500 million for the project. The loan from ADB will fund at least 66.7 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses for an estimated 31.7 crore people.
“It will support India’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan which aims to fully vaccinate 944.7 million people aged 18 years old and above, accounting for 68.9% of the population. Priority groups include health care and frontline workers, senior citizens, and those aged 45–59 years with comorbidities,” ADB said in a statement. “(the) support will help the government protect its citizens from further transmission of this disease and save lives,” said ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa.
Vaccines are critical in overcoming the intertwined health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic, including rejuvenating economic activities, sustaining health services, restoration of livelihoods, and reopening of educational institutions, with renewed focus on social and human development priorities, Asakawa said.