Bill Gates has not ruled out that the coronavirus vaccine may become mandatory. Gates, who has donated $350 million towards research on the infectious disease, including on the development of an inoculation and its procurement, said that individuals who work with the elderly, who are in the highest risk group to die from the disease and suffer severe long-term health effects, may be required to be vaccinated.
"Making something mandatory can often backfire. But you might say that if you’re going to work in an old-folks home or have any exposure to elderly people, it would be required", Gates told Bloomberg.
Scores of vaccines are being developed by laboratories and countries across the world, including in the United States, which has already signed an agreement for the supply of more than 300 million doses, despite the fact that the inoculation’s effectiveness or side effects are not known. Asked whether Washington’s move and the moves of other countries are harmful, Gates said the following:
"We need cooperation within countries and between countries. The US as yet has not helped come up with procurement money for poor countries. We’ve funded more research and development than any country, but on factories and procurement, we’ve only taken care of ourselves. Every call I’m on with the pharma leaders and the leaders of countries is with the goal of, ‘Hey, we need everybody to be protected'".
Earlier, Gates called on US lawmakers to add $8 billion to the economic relief bill to help less developed nations in the battle against the disease, which has infected almost 21 million and killed more than 760,000. Gates as well as health experts across the world fear that wealthy countries may monopolise the supply of vaccines, leaving poor nations alone in the fight against COVID-19. Such a scenario would negatively affect the overall situation with the pandemic.
Speaking to Bloomberg, the Microsoft co-founder said that the first inoculation won’t be ideal in terms of preventing the spread of the disease and may not have a long duration.
"In 2021, a number of other vaccines are very likely to get approved. The strongest response will probably come from the protein subunit. With so many companies working on it, we can afford quite a few failures and still have something with low cost and long duration", Gates told Bloomberg.
The 64-year-old also touched on conspiracy theories that accuse him of inventing the coronavirus to mass-implant chips through vaccines and thus control the world’s population. The Microsoft co-founder said that such allegations could become a problem in the future.
"It’s strange [people believing in conspiracy theories]. They take the fact that I’m involved with vaccines and they just reverse it, so instead of giving money to save lives, I’m making money to get rid of lives. If that stops people from taking a vaccine or looking at the latest data about wearing a mask, then it’s a big problem", Gates said.
Asked whether the world will be okay, Gates said: "Certainly. We’re lucky this one [virus] wasn’t a more fatal disease". The 64-year-old previously said that the pandemic will likely be over by the end of 2021.