Global policymakers urge more sharing of COVID-19 vaccine

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A man receives a dose of the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a vaccination centre inside the Mansour Mall in Baghdad, Iraq August 22, 2021. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

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WASHINGTON, Aug 27 (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.

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Reporting by Susan Heavey and Jason Lange Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

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