Melinda Gates: Coronavirus vaccine should be given to black people first, right after health care workers
Given the ongoing racial unrest and protests across the nation and around the world, Melinda Gates, the wife of Bill Gates, said that coronavirus vaccine should first be given to black people right after health care workers.
She made the statement in an interview Time Magazine ahead of the 2020 Global Vaccines Summit. Melinda said the first first people who need the new COVID-19 vaccine are the 60 million health care workers around the world. Gates added that the shot should then be given to black people and “many other people of color” before being used on white people. Referring to black people, Melinda Gates said: “They deserve to get it before anybody else. Then you start tiering.” She went on to address the death of George Floyd and health disparities between blacks and whites in the country, saying:
Even before we saw this senseless death, COVID had already started to show us gaps and structural problems in our country. We are seeing black men die at a disproportionate rate. We know the way out of COVID-19 will be a vaccine, and it needs to go out equitably.
When asked about how we ensure the new COVID-19 vaccine is equitably administered, Melinda said:
You make sure the vaccine doesn’t go to the highest bidder. GAVI uses a pooled set of resources from governments and private citizens, so you can make sure that when you go to purchase the vaccine, you purchase it in bulk at low prices. We’ve gotten the delivery system, over 20 years, really set up appropriately. This pledging event means governments around the world will step up in global cooperation to all say, ‘We care about this vaccine getting out equitably,’ [since their contributions will help GAVI secure and distribute doses when they become available]. The first people that need this vaccine are the 60 million health care workers around the world. They deserve to get it before anybody else. Then you start tiering.
When asked about who needs the vaccine after health care workers. Melinda Gates said:
In the U.S., that would be black people next, quite honestly, and many other people of color. They are having disproportionate effects from COVID-19. From there, people with underlying health conditions, and then people who are older. Those are the ones who all need it first. We also need to think about essential workers who are keeping our grocery stores open for us so we can buy food, or who are making sure that food moves through the warehouses.
Given African-American distrust of the institutions of medicine and public health, her response may be perceived as racist. Many blacks and minorities may also view themselves as guinea pig for the vaccine. Already, misinformation about her husband is swirling around online as part of an effort to push an anti-vaccination agenda. Many claim Gates is using the vaccine to control black population around the world.
Back in April, her husband, Bill Gates, said the world will need 7 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to stop coronavirus pandemic. “In order to stop the pandemic, we need to make the vaccine available to almost every person on the planet. We’ve never delivered something to every corner of the world before. And, as I mentioned earlier, vaccines are particularly difficult to make and store,” Gates wrote.
Gates Foundation has been helping many African countries by providing vaccines to eliminate treatable diseases. In 2001, the foundtion supported the Meningitis Vaccine Project in Africa as part of the effort to eliminate the meningitis epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa by developing a new meningococcal vaccine.