Manila [The Philippines], July 5 (ANI): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has joined with leading public health experts, vaccine regulators and policymakers to form an advisory group to provide its developing member countries (DMCs) with expert technical and scientific advice on the quality, safety and effectiveness of vaccines for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
The regional vaccine advisory group will help ADB and its DMCs better understand regulatory oversight, risk management strategies and pharma co-vigilance needed to safely introduce and monitor vaccine rollouts.
"For most of the world, including Asia and the Pacific, the pandemic continues to disrupt lives and economies, and -- in some countries -- it is intensifying," said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
"ADB's regional vaccine advisory group will help to safely introduce Covid-19 vaccines across Asia and the Pacific, and allow people to resume their lives, revive their economies, and in doing so, reduce poverty."
The inaugural meeting last week focused on how to increase the supply of Covid-19 vaccines across Asia and the Pacific. In many countries, less than five per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
The advisory group's forthcoming recommendations will help ADB find ways to connect global and local supply chains and overcome the vaccine supply barriers facing the region.
The group will meet quarterly and is unique in convening an eminent group of vaccine regulators across Asia and the Pacific and North America. Its members include India's Department of Biotechnology Secretary Renu Swarup.
The group will add to ADB's work expanding access to Covid-19 vaccines, including the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX) which is providing nine billion dollars in financing to help DMCs procure and deliver safe and effective vaccines.
ADB has developed a 500 million dollar vaccine import facility to work with the private sector to provide much-needed support for vaccine storage, logistics, and distribution while also providing 77 million dollars in technical assistance to support DMCs to procure urgently needed medical supplies and to roll out vaccine programmes including through strengthening regulatory capacity.