WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A group of global policymakers tasked with responding to the COVID-19 health crisis on Friday urged nations with large vaccine stocks to share them with programs that distribute them to lower-income counties.
In a joint statement, the Multilateral Leaders Taskforce – which includes the heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and World Trade Organization – said fewer than 2% of adults in most low-income countries were vaccinated, compared with almost 50% in high-income countries.
“This crisis of vaccine inequity is driving a dangerous divergence in COVID-19 survival rates and in the global economy,” the group said.
It called on the Group of Seven nations – the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom – to “urgently” fulfill their vaccine-sharing pledges, noting that fewer than 10% of pledged doses have been shipped.
The group also urged nations to eliminate export restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Jason LangeEditing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)