Bill Gates Criticised For Saying Vaccine Formulas Shouldn’t Be Shared With Poor Countries
Bill Gates has attracted criticism for claiming it would be unwise to share vaccine formulas with poorer nations.
The Microsoft founder has been fairly outspoken with regards to the pandemic, whether it’s calling for other wealthy countries to prevent a future outbreak, comparing COVID-19 to climate change, or how he estimated a return to normality may not come until 2022.
In a recent interview with Sky News, Gates was asked if it ‘would be helpful’ for intellectual property protections to be lifted in order for the formulas to be shared with different countries, whether they’re developing or not. He replied, ‘No.’
Gates continued, ‘There’s only so many vaccine factories in the world and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines. And so moving something that had never been done, moving a vaccine, say, from a [Johnson & Johnson] factory into a factory in India, it’s novel, it’s only because of our grants and expertise that can happen at all.’
He added, ‘The thing that’s holding things back, in this case, is not intellectual property. It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines. You know, you’ve got to do the trial on these things. And every manufacturing process needs to be looked at in a very careful way.’
Among the responses from experts, Dr. Tara Van Ho, a law professor at the University of Essex, tweeted, ‘Gates speaks as if all the lives being lost in India are inevitable but eventually the West will help when in reality the US & UK are holding their feet on the neck of developing states by refusing to break [intellectual property rights] protections. It’s disgusting.’
Journalist Stephen Buranyi also wrote that Gates ‘acts like an optimist but has a truly dismal vision of the world. We can’t make more vaccines, we can’t compromise profits, we can’t trust poor countries with our technology, and they’ll get their scraps after we eat. Awful’.
Gates also said it wasn’t ‘completely surprising’ to see countries like the US and UK getting the vaccine first, compared to elderly populations in the likes of Brazil and South Africa. ‘That’s not fair, but within three or four months the vaccine allocation will be getting to all the countries that have the very severe epidemic,’ he added.
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