Red Cross to help 500 million get Covid shots

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The Red Cross launched a plan Thursday to help get 500 million people vaccinated against COVID-19, saying that leaving the world’s poorest exposed to the virus could backfire spectacularly.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it would throw its weight into the distribution and acceptance of vaccines among some of the hardest-to-reach communities around the world.

The Geneva-based IFRC said it would spend 100 million Swiss francs ($111 million, 92.5 million euros) on the push and was already working with governments in more than 60 countries to see where its help could be the most effective.

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“The current lack of equity in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is alarming and could backfire to deadly and devastating effect,” IFRC secretary general Jagan Chapagain told reporters.

He said that nearly 70 percent of vaccine doses administered so far had been in the world’s 50 richest countries while only 0.1 percent had been deployed in the world’s poorest 50.

“It could prolong or even worsen this terrible pandemic,” he said, noting that if the virus continues to circulate and mutate in large pockets of the globe, even those who have been vaccinated in richer countries would not be safe.

Under the plan, IFRC societies will support national vaccination efforts, including countering misinformation about vaccine efficacy and supporting logistics.

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Red Cross to help 500 million get Covid shots (2021, February 4)
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