WHO says donate shots rather than jab kids

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The World Health Organisation has urged rich countries to reconsider plans to vaccinate children and instead donate COVID-19 shots to the COVAX scheme for poorer countries.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said the second year of the pandemic was set to be more deadly than the first, with India a huge concern.

"I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents but right now I urge them to reconsider and to instead donate vaccines to COVAX," he told a virtual meeting in Geneva.

In wealthy countries, this stance does not seem very popular.

German Family Minister Franziska Giffey on Friday said she was in favour of prioritising the vaccination of children and youths as soon as a vaccine is authorised for those age groups.

In the US, the vaccine produced by manufacturers BioNTech and Pfizer has already been approved for children aged 12 and older.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the alarm over the rapid spread of the coronavirus through India's vast countryside on Friday as the country's official tally of infections crossed 24 million and more than 4000 people died for the third straight day.

More than 160.71 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 3,477,379 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.