A surge in new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the middle of 2021 has again highlighted the need to speed and scale up vaccination programs, including in Asia and the Pacific.
Many of the new wave of infections involve the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 and medical experts have warned that without greater vaccine coverage, even more virulent strains could emerge, threatening the efficacy of existing vaccines.
Here are 12 things to know about the COVID-19 Vaccination Drive in Asia and the Pacific.
COVID-19 Vaccination Drive in Asia and the Pacific: 12 Things to Know
1. A surge in new COVID-19 cases in Asia and the Pacific highlights the urgency of expanding and speeding up vaccination programs.
2. More virulent strains of the COVID-19 virus could emerge, threatening the efficacy of existing vaccines.
3. Almost half of developing Asia's economies have administered fewer than 15 vaccine doses per 100 people.
4. Countries with high vaccine coverage rates have been able to ease public restrictions and open their economies.
5. ADB's $9 billion APVAX facility is helping developing member countries access safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines.
6. The APVAX facility provides finance to procure, transport, and distribute vaccines.
7. ADB has approved over $2 billion in loans and grants under APVAX, with a pipeline of requests totaling over $4 billion.
8. A $500 million facility under ADB's Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program complements APVAX to mitigate payment risks for vaccine imports.
9. ADB and field experts have established a Regional Vaccine Advisory Group to provide advice on vaccine safety and efficacy.
10. A new wave of infections and uneven vaccine rollout are clouding economic prospects in Asia and the Pacific.
11. In the 2021 ADOU, ADB forecasts the region’s output to expand by 7.1% for the year and 5.4% in 2022. Inflation is projected at 2.2% in 2021 and 2.7% in 2022.
12. Without broader vaccine coverage to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic resources needed for a green and sustainable recovery will be drained.