Bill Gates describes inequitable global access to COVID-19 vaccinations as a “public health tragedy”.

Dr. Onyimbo Kerama, lead consultant and executive director at Motire Occupational Health and Safety Solutions In Thika, Kenya, uses a LumiraDx diagnostic instrument to test for COVID-19. (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Photo)

A new report by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle reminds us that not everyone can get the vaccine shot.

Bill Gates said that “the lack of equitable access COVID-19 vaccinations is a public safety tragedy” in a statement released with the Gates Foundation’s Annual Goalkeepers Report. This report has been tracking the progress of countries toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals over the last five years.

Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, and Melinda French Gates co-authored Monday’s latest report. After their divorce , they will continue to be the Gates Foundation’s co-chairs for two years.

COVID-19, which is the central theme of the report, refers to the “unprecedented development” of multiple vaccines within a short period of time, as opposed to the usual timeline of 10-15 years. The report also notes that more than 80% COVID-19 vaccines have been given in countries with high income and higher-middle income.

The report states that Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates have obtained two- to three times as many doses to protect their population in case of an increase in infectious strains. “Meanwhile less than 1 percent of the doses were administered in low income countries. These inequalities are an outrage and raise the real danger that communities and countries with high incomes will treat COVID-19 like another form of poverty:

Bill Gates repeatedly warned of the danger of unequal vaccine distribution as vaccines were developed.

In his joint statement with the Goalkeepers’ report, he stated that “we can’t leave the pandemic behind” and added, “Until everyone, no matter where they are, has access vaccines.”

In the past 18 months, approximately $1.7 billion has been committed by The Gates Foundation to COVID-19 research and to vaccine distribution worldwide.

According to the statistics in the report, 30 million more people have fallen into extreme poverty over the last year. This reverses many of the recent gains. The report also highlights the effects of the pandemics on education and gender equality in the world.

In a conference call, Mark Suzman (the Gates Foundation CEO) told journalists that it is now that the Gates Foundation has the opportunity to not only address the inequities with COVID-19 vaccines, but also prepare for the future by launching initiatives like genomic surveillance, which cuts across countries.

Suzman mentioned the necessity for “global infrastructures rather than national or regional infrastructures to ensure that we don’t face such a crisis ever again.”

Publiated at Tue 14 Sep 2021, 03:04:01 +0000

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