WHO chief says drug firms should share vaccine-making capacity

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FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) - World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on companies on Friday to share manufacturing facilities to help ramp up the production of COVID-19 vaccines.

Speaking at an online news briefing from Geneva, Tedros said almost 130 countries with a combined population of 2.5 billion people were yet to administer a single dose of vaccine, and repeated his plea for rich nations to share doses with poorer countries once they have vaccinated health workers and older people.

"But we also need a massive scale-up in production," the WHO director general said.

"Last week, Sanofi announced it would make its manufacturing infrastructure available to support production of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. We call on other companies to follow this example."

French drug maker Sanofi said last week it would will fill and pack millions of doses of Pfizer's vaccine from July, aiming to help supply more than 100 million doses this year from its German plant to meet massive demand.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and John Miller; Writing by Alex Richardson; Editing by Catherine Evans)