The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $95 million loan to help the Cambodian government vaccinate Cambodians against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from 2022 to 2023, including annual booster shots for those already vaccinated and primary doses for children under 5.
“The project will help Cambodia save lives by reducing the number of severe coronavirus cases and accelerate the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic,” said ADB Senior Social Sector Specialist Rikard Elfving. “ADB will also provide $1 million in technical assistance to help Cambodia boost the effectiveness of logistics and supply-management systems and reduce access barriers among women, girls, children, and hard-to-reach populations.”
Cambodia was largely successful in controlling the spread of the coronavirus in 2020. But an outbreak in 2021 severely stressed the health care system and resulted in widespread closures of schools and businesses for most of the year.
Cambodia has fully vaccinated 80% of its population of 16.7 million since launching a national vaccination campaign on 10 February 2021. More than one in five people, or 21.8%, have received booster shots. Still, the country’s health system remains vulnerable to a surge in new infections linked to variants such as Delta and Omicron. In addition to the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility loan, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is expected to provide co-financing of $50 million subject to the approval of their Board of Directors.
The project builds on ADB’s earlier COVID-19-related assistance to Cambodia. On 8 July 2020, ADB provided a $250 million loan to help the government mitigate the severe health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic. In addition, ADB provided about 1.7 million units of personal protective equipment to Cambodia in 2021.
Since 2005, ADB has supported the Cambodian Ministry of Health’s regional communicable disease control projects. In October 2021, ADB approved $30 million in additional financing for the Greater Mekong Subregion Health Security Project to strengthen Cambodia’s health system amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.