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4.73 million COVID-19 vaccine doses procured through World Bank arrived in Philippines — lender

Nearly five million out of the 13 million COVID-19 vaccine doses procured through the World Bank’s assistance have arrived in the Philippines, the multilateral lender said Tuesday.

In a statement, the World Bank said 4.73 million doses had been delivered to the country while the remaining doses are expected to arrive in the country by December 2021.

The vaccine doses were procured through the World Bank’s additional $500 million financing under its COVID-19 Emergency Response Project in the Philippines, which aims to help the country meet urgent healthcare needs to address the pandemic and bolster public health preparedness.

“The World Bank is pleased to contribute to the Philippines’ national COVID-19 vaccination effort so that more Filipinos are protected against Covid-19, can resume normal lives, and the country can rebuild the economy faster, restore jobs and incomes, and ensure its resilient recovery,” said Ndiame Diop, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.

Approved on March 11, 2021, the $500-million additional financing was designed to support the Philippine government’s program to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, strengthen the country’s health systems, and overcome the impact of the pandemic especially on the poor and the most vulnerable. 

The additional financing also supports the Philippines’ efforts to implement public health measures including increasing testing and improving isolation capacity, the Washington-based lender said.

Implemented by the Department of Health, the project provided funding to purchase laboratory equipment and test kits, and ambulances as well as medical equipment and supplies such as mechanical ventilators, portable X-ray machines, and infusion pumps. 

It has also been used to refurbish isolation rooms and quarantine facilities.

The World Bank Group said it has so far deployed over $157 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic — the fastest and largest crisis response in its history.

The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump start a climate-friendly recovery. 

The bank said it is also supporting over 50 low- and middle-income countries, more than half of which are in Africa, with the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and is making available $20 billion in financing for this purpose until the end of 2022. — VBL, GMA News