Coronavirus

WHO asking rich countries to donate 10M vaccines

FILE - In this June 11, 2009, file photo, the logo of the World Health Organization is seen at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The head of the World Health Organization says on Friday, Dec, 18, 2020 the U.N. health agency’s program to help get COVID-19 vaccines to all countries in need, has gained access to nearly 2 billion doses of several “promising” vaccine candidates. None of the agreements currently include the vaccines by Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, which is already in use in the United States, Canada and Britain. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization is asking rich countries to donate at least 10 million coronavirus vaccines so the U.N. health agency can reach its goal of vaccination in all countries within the first 100 days of 2021.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says supply problems faced by the U.N.-backed effort COVAX, which aims to provide vaccines to all countries, means that about 20 countries are still awaiting their first doses of vaccines from the program.

Tedros says he’s also asking manufacturers to scale up their production so extra vaccines could be donated to poorer countries. He slammed the numerous private deals countries have struck with pharmaceuticals that have meant fewer vaccines for developing countries and warned COVAX would need many more hundreds of millions of vaccines in the coming months.

On Thursday, WHO’s COVAX partner Gavi, announced supply problems meant it would have to delay the delivery of about 90 million vaccines until about May.

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