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United Kingdom

Britain to hold meeting to encourage global COVID vaccine take-up

2 minute read

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a bottle of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine as he visits a COVID-19 vaccination centre in Batley, West Yorkshire, Britain February 1, 2021. Jon Super/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - Britain said on Saturday it plans to hold a virtual meeting on June 2 to encourage global take-up of COVID-19 vaccines, bringing together medical experts, officials from G7 countries and other partners.

The event will discuss how to tackle misinformation about vaccines, including the role social media companies can play in stopping the spread of damaging falsehoods.

Britain, which has one of the world's fastest inoculation campaigns and an uptake of over 90% in older age groups, hopes to use its presidency of the Group of Seven nations to improve access to coronavirus vaccines.

Rich countries are generally far ahead of most poorer nations in inoculating their populations. The World Health Organization has repeatedly urged them to do more to help distribute vaccines around the world, including boosting supplies to the COVAX scheme to provide vaccines to poorer nations.

"This UK-hosted Summit is a significant opportunity for G7 countries to come together with partners across the world to take action to maintain high levels of trust in vaccines and those that provide them," vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said in a statement.

"We must work collectively to ensure people across the world can reclaim their lives and livelihoods."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair a G7 summit in Cornwall, southwestern England, on June 11-13. U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to attend with other leaders.

In Britain, a first shot has been administered to almost 70% of the adult population and a second to 36%, helping to reduce infection rates and deaths.

Reporting by Sarah Young Editing by Frances Kerry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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