WHO urges rich nations to join vaccine scheme by Friday deadline

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, March 2, 2020. More than $1.1 trillion was wiped off the value of developing-nation stocks and bonds last week as the economic impact of the coronavirus worsened. Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, March 2, 2020. More than $1.1 trillion was wiped off the value of developing-nation stocks and bonds last week as the economic impact of the coronavirus worsened. Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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 the 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.