Reuters and Frances Mulraney – Daily Mail.com Oct 7, 2020
- Microsoft founder Bill Gates claimed Tuesday that richer countries could be returning to close to normal by the end of 2021
- It would only happen if a coronavirus vaccine is ready soon and distributed properly on a large scale
- He added that stopping transmission worldwide could take up to three years
- Gates, 64, warned that the US must be preparing now to eradicate any public reluctance over taking a vaccine
- He also hit out at the FDA for not being ‘as strong as you would expect’
Rich countries could be back to close to normal by late 2021 if a COVID-19 vaccine is approved soon and widely distributed, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said on Tuesday.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Gates, 64, warned that the success of the vaccines currently being trialed in the US is not guaranteed.
Yet he urged the country to begin preparing now for ways to reduce the hesitance of the public regarding its safety, as concerns grow among Americans that the discovery of a vaccine has become too political to be trusted.
Gates also hit out at the Food and Drug Administration who he claimed embarrassed itself with false information and praise of political figures when they began to talk about the use of plasma as a COVID-19 treatment.
‘The FDA did embarrass itself pretty badly with the plasma announcement, where they made claims that were just completely wrong. They put a lot of praise of political figures into it so they haven’t been as strong as you would expect,’ Gates alleged.
Yet he said he stands behind the agency in trusting the safety of a vaccine.
‘With the vaccine and the idea of the expert panel and the professional team, I do think this is the gold standard that both the US and the world will want to look to before you want to give the vaccine out to millions of people,’ he claimed.
COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca/Oxford University are two of the leading candidates in the race to be first to get regulatory approval in the West.
‘We still don’t know whether these vaccines will succeed,’ Gates said. ‘Now the capacity will take time to ramp up. And so the allocation within the U.S., and between the U.S. and other countries will be a very top point of contention.
‘If you were going for an elimination where we don’t have any more transmission, that will take two to three years,’ he continued.
‘In the rich countries, however, if you really in the first months of next year have the vaccine and they’re fairly effective at transmission blocking, then by late next year you could have things going back pretty much to normal, that’s the best case.’
The head of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that a vaccine against COVID-19 may be ready by the end of the year.
Gates, who made a fortune from Microsoft, has since given $36 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to tackle extreme poverty and poor healthcare.
Last month the foundation signed an agreement with 16 pharmaceutical companies, which Gates said committed them to scaling up manufacturing at an unprecedented speed, and making sure that approved vaccines reach broad distribution as early as possible.
Gates added that in the United States people should be thinking about ways to reduce hesitancy about having a COVID-19 vaccine when one is ready.
‘You know, here in the U.S., we should already be thinking about which voices will help reduce the hesitancy. And so we can get a level of vaccination that really has a chance of stopping (it),’ he commented.
He cited his experience in developing a vaccine for polio and the rumors and conspiracy theories that surrounded it.
‘Vaccine hesitancy is in all countries and predates the pandemic,’ Gates continued.
‘Even with the polio eradication – that has been ongoing now for some decades and hopefully is very close to completion – we saw very bad rumors about the polio vaccine like it was from the US and it was to sterilize women.
‘In places like Nigeria we had to go to the religious leaders talk to them have them speak out vaccine their children. So understanding the trust network who is an expert very few people can look at the formulation and the data directly.’
Call me a cynic but I find it encouraging that comments on the YouTube page for the video below are overwhelmingly hostile and derisory. Gates’ is going to have a problem getting people to accept vaccination, and the more he pushes the more people will resist.
A lot of people are adamant about a Covid-19 vaccine. They will not passively accept it and there will be widespread, global resistance to it. Ed.