Today, the COVID-19 pandemic reached a disastrous milestone of 5 million cases across the United States. While the cases are raging on, most everything is returning to business as usual. Students are going back to school, businesses are open, and for a lot of folks, social distancing is becoming a thing of the past. The race to a vaccine is reportedly steadily ongoing and experts are hopeful for something by the beginning of 2021.
The vaccine is really the midway point of the pandemic. People are already refusing to take the vaccine, the pricing of the vaccine is still a question, and how to distribute the vaccine is also a huge unknown. According to reports from Complex, Bill Gates wants to step in and make this process as smooth as possible for everyone involved.
Putting his money where his mouth is, Gates and The Gates Foundation is funneling money into the largest global vaccination distributor, the Serum Institute, in efforts to lower production costs and make it so that the vaccines can be distributed at a much lower cost. Counting this $150 million going towards Serum, Gates has now pledged around $500 million towards different resources to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
“Because of the way you manufacture them, and the difficulty of scaling up, they are more likely — if they are helpful — to help in the rich countries,” Gates told WIRED in an interview on Friday. “They won’t be the low-cost, scalable solution for the world at large.”
The main concern for Gates is the accessibility a vaccine will have in poorer countries once it hits the global market, so all of the money he’s pumping into these vaccination distributors is in a direct effort to combat that.
Gates is essentially putting his foot down to avoid the vaccine price being unaffordable for the lower-income areas and will offset the cost to keep the vaccine at $3–no matter who makes it. One of the perks of being the second richest person in the world; you can pay the difference for everyone in the world who needs the vaccine.