WHO says $4.3 billion urgently needed for vaccine sharing scheme

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FILE PHOTO: The word "COVID-19" is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration

GENEVA (Reuters) - There is a risk that the poor and vulnerable will be trampled on in the stampede for coronavirus vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization said on Monday, adding that $4.3 billion was needed urgently for a world vaccine-sharing scheme.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was speaking at a virtual briefing in Geneva.

Dozens of countries have signed up to the global vaccine plan known as COVAX, which was set up by the WHO and the GAVI vaccine group to provide vaccine doses for countries that could not otherwise afford them.

It has so far raised $5 billion, including more than 500 million euros ($600 million) from Germany.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge in Geneva and Michael Shields in Zurich; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Alex Richardson)