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Health

WHO head urges rich nations to join vaccine scheme by Friday deadline

ZURICH (Reuters) - Countries should join the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX vaccine facility by a Friday deadline to help ensure that immunizations are fairly and efficiently distributed, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.

So far, 92 lower-income nations are seeking assistance via the COVAX facility, part of the WHO’s ACT Accelerator to boost development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to combat the pandemic. Some 80 higher-income nations have expressed interest, but many must still confirm their intention to join by the end of this week.

“If people in low- and middle-income countries miss out on vaccines, the virus will continue to kill and the economic recovery globally will be delayed,” Tedros told a WHO regional event for Europe that was broadcast virtually.

Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields

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