World Bank's Malpass urges rich countries to ease grip on vaccine stockpiles

FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" are placed on dry ice in this illustration taken, December 5, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - World Bank President David Malpass on Wednesday urged wealthy countries to quickly free up excess vaccines for developing economies that are now facing greater needs, by exporting stockpiled doses and giving up options for future deliveries.

Malpass told a Financial Times online event that the World Bank now has "robust" vaccine financing operations in about 18 countries, a figure that will expand to 50 countries and about $4 billion by mid-year.

He said advanced countries "need to give up the options and the control mechanism that they have for the vaccines and let the countries that have deployment systems begin to make those deployments."

(Reporting by David Lawder)

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