Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has voiced his concerns about how much of a threat the anti-vaccine movement poses to humanity.
He participated in an AskMeAnything thread on Reddit, stating just how much of a threat anti-vaxxers pose to global health.
With a net worth of more than $90 billion amassed from his time at the helm of Microsoft, the second richest person in the world has devoted the last 19 years of his life to creating and leading the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundations spend $4 billion a year in developing countries trying to end child mortality.
Anti-vaxxers are known as having vaccine hesitancy. It’s known as a reluctance or refusal to have your children or yourself vaccinated. Because of this, common vaccines against smallpox, MMR and tetanus aren’t being taken because of misleading information being spread about side effects of the drugs.
Through his work through the foundation, Gates has helped to develop vaccines to save lives across the world, as well as tackling some of the biggest threats people in developing countries face.
He expressed his concerns on Reddit:
It is surprising to see how in the richer countries the consensus that kids should be protected has been lost.
Unfortunately this will mean some measles or pertussis deaths. Hopefully that will help get over the negative stories that circulate.
Vaccines have saved more lives than any other tool. Our Foundation is working on vaccines for Malaria, HIV and TB which will make a huge difference.
At the start of 2019, the World Health Organisation voiced similar concerns to that of the billionaire Gates. Vaccine hesitancy was listed as one of the 10 biggest threats to global health in the world, along with air pollution and Ebola.
Its report stated:
Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease – it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.
Despite the research and the continual proof that vaccines are the best way to protect a child against harmful diseases, the number of parents not vaccinating their children continues to increase.
Lewis Spears, a stand-up comedian from Australia, took it upon himself to get into the minds of anti-vaxxers by getting down to basics with them.
Explaining his motives at the start of a YouTube video posted this week (February 24), Spears picks apart the claim by many anti-vaxxers that thousands of medical professionals agree with them that vaccines are unnecessary and dangerous.
The comedian states he attended the rally to see if he could find one of these so-called medical experts, implying he should be able to because the anti-vax rally is one of the biggest Australia has ever seen.
Spears then proceeds to ask a range of people at the rally if they’re a doctor or a medical professional, to which everyone replies with a short ‘no’.
As Spears continues to receive a repeated ‘no’ in response to his questioning, a tally on the bottom of the screen shows zero people at the rally are doctors, but more than 200 are ‘morons’.
In America and Japan, measles outbreaks have had a 30 per cent rise with more than 300 cases recorded in this year alone.
Hopefully parents will look into the evidence of the benefits to vaccinating children. If they don’t we can only expect numbers of outbreaks to increase over time.
Gates’ philanthropic work might have to be applied a little closer to home.
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Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.