THE GOVERNMENT may enlist the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank to finance a free coronavirus vaccination program next year.

“We are considering tapping facilities launched by the ADB and the World Bank for vaccine access,” Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Y.C. Joven said via text message Sunday.

Mr. Joven said the Department of Finance is studying the new loan facilities launched recently as it raises more funds.

Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado said the government may allot up to P40 billion for the program intended to provide free vaccines to 20 million people.

Initially, the government estimated at least P20 billion will be needed, which Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has said can be funded with the help of government banks.

While the total amount has yet to be determined, Mr. Joven said raising up to P40 billion via multilateral development banks is “doable.”

The World Bank approved last week a new loan facility worth $12 billion to help developing countries buy and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

In next year’s P4.5-trillion budget, P2.5 billion is allotted to the Health department for the procurement of vaccines.

Budget Undersecretary Laura B. Pascua said another P10 billion is lodged under unprogrammed appropriations for the vaccines.

Aside from financial assistance, Mr. Joven said the facilities of the ADB and the World Bank also include support in sourcing and distributing vaccines once these are available. — Beatrice M. Laforga