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Illustrative image: The vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus disease, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. Image Credit: AFP

Geneva/London: Some 172 countries are engaging with the WHO-led COVAX plan designed to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, the World Health Organization said on Monday, but more funding is urgently needed and countries should now make binding commitments.

"Initially, when there will be limited supply (of COVID-19 vaccines), it's important to provide the vaccine to those at highest risk around the globe," the WHO's director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a media briefing. He added that the terms of agreement have been sent to countries that would potentially self-finance as part of the plan.