Bill Gates Says World Must Increase Vaccine-Making Capacity
(Bloomberg) -- Bill Gates, whose foundation has focused efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, said Wednesday that government and industry leaders around the world need to “get serious” about increasing vaccine-making capacity so that they can respond faster in the future.
While changes to how the world allocates and shares doses can help, the ability to quickly make large volumes of mRNA vaccines can lesson the political tensions that can arise from scarcity, Gates wrote in his blog.
“The world should have the goal of being able to make and deliver enough vaccines for everyone on the planet within six months of detecting a potential pandemic,” Gates said. “If we could do that, then the supply of doses would not be a limiting factor, and the way they were allocated would no longer be a matter of life and death.”
Regional agencies, meanwhile, can help by working to create more “gold-standard” regulators that can approve vaccines, Gates said, noting that he doesn’t think that supply has been limited by intellectual protection rules.
Other Key Quotes:
- “When supplies are short, we should prioritize vaccinating people who both have a high risk of death and live in the places where the virus is spreading fastest.”
- “The gravest inequity, even more than vaccinating rich people before poor ones, is vaccinating young people in rich countries before older people in middle-income countries with bad epidemics, such as South Africa and most of South America.”
- “Will future politicians always be willing to tell young voters they can’t be vaccinated because the doses are going to another country, at a time when schools are still closed and people—including a few young people—are still dying?”
- “Broadly waiving IP protections would not meaningfully increase the supply of vaccines.”
- “If there were more high-volume vaccine manufacturers whose primary goal was to produce low-cost vaccines, then affordable doses would be available much faster. Middle-income countries are a natural home for these companies.”
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