WHO urges rich countries to donate shots instead of vaccinating children

FILE PHOTO: A box of Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, redeployed from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is seen loaded into a refrigerated delivery truck in Accra, Ghana May 7, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization urged rich countries on Friday to reconsider plans to vaccinate children and instead donate COVID-19 shots to the COVAX scheme for poorer countries.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said the second year of the pandemic was set to be more deadly than the first, with India a huge concern.

“I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents, but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to #COVAX,” he told a virtual meeting in Geneva.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the alarm over the rapid spread of the coronavirus through India’s vast countryside on Friday, as the country’s official tally of infections crossed 24 million and over 4,000 people died for the third straight day.

More than 160.71 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 3,477,379‚Äč have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

(Reporting by Emma Farge in Geneva and Michael Shields and John Miller in Zurich; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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