Bill Gates first became interested in the effort for vaccines and immunizations in the 1990s. Over the years, the Gates Foundation has granted vaccine programs more than $16 billion to fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Gates has also made a point to speak publicly on the issue of public health routinely. In fact, Gates nearly predicted the current pandemic, saying in 2015 that “if anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus” and that “we’re not ready for the next epidemic.” Six years and more than 2.5 million COVID-19 deaths later, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is helping COVID-19 relief worldwide in three key ways.
The Gates Foundation and COVID-19 Fundraising
The Gates Foundation is helping COVID-19 relief is by providing funds. A central aim of the Gates Foundation is to aid global health by “[investing] heavily in developing new vaccines to prevent infectious diseases.” The foundation has upheld this promise during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving about $1.75 billion to the pandemic response. For example, the foundation provided a $300 million infusion to the Serum Institute of India. This allowed the institute to double its vaccine commitment. The bulk of the funds have gone “towards the production and procurement of crucial medical supplies.” Notable examples of earmarked contributions include a $20 million grant to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to further research on additional vaccine candidates. Also, a $250 million donation is dedicated to ensuring low- and middle-income countries have access to the same technology and solutions as developed countries.
The Gates Foundation Launch The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator
The ACT-Accelerator is an international coalition that brings together governments, health organizations, scientists and philanthropists that represent a comprehensive effort to assist in COVID-19 relief. The platform was launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation less than a year ago after calls from G20 Leaders. The organization focuses on four pillars of COVID-19 relief: diagnostics, treatment, vaccines and health system strengthening. While the organization’s holistic goal is to coordinate a truly global response to COVID-19, it has many specific, tangible aims. These goals include bringing 500 million tests to low-and-middle-income countries by mid-2021 and distributing 245 million treatments to these populations within the next year.
Established Relationships of The Gates Foundation During COVID-19
The Gates Foundation is also using established relationships to further the COVID-19 relief effort. Bill Gates’ work over the past two decades in the global infectious disease effort has helped him create strong relationships with humanitarian organizations and influential public figures. The foundation is drawing on these connections to further its efforts. Bill and Melinda have met with international actors, such as the President Macron of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany. They also have connected with domestic figureheads, including Dr. Fauci and Sen. McConnell, to bring more attention and funding to COVID-19 relief efforts. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is helping COVID-19 relief through traditional methods such as donations and grants while also focusing on advocating for the equitable distribution of resources to low- and middle-income countries. Through its work in vaccine equity, the Gates Foundation is helping COVID-19 relief worldwide in many needed ways.
– Kendall Carll