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‘Borders are meaningless to pathogens’: Bill Gates calls on US to donate $4 billion to fund Covid-19 vaccine in poor countries

Bill Gates is lobbying Congress to add $4 billion to the coronavirus stimulus packing for vaccines to go to poor countries.

To promote the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2020 Goalkeeper Report released this week, the Microsoft founder has gone on a media blitz to push for US funding of Covid-19 vaccines in developing countries.

“The inequity of this — whether it’s between citizens in the country, blue collar versus white collar, blacks experiencing a higher sickness rate than others — poor countries can’t borrow money and spend money like the U.S. and other rich countries have,” Mr Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.  

“Almost every dimension of inequity has been accentuated here.”

Mr Gates’ Goalkeeper Report estimates that 37 million people have fallen below the poverty line worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic. If found that twice as many Covid-19 deaths would be prevented if vaccines went to the largest countries ahead of the wealthiest countries.

Mr Gates told The New York Times that he would lobby for the additional $4 billion on Congress’s coronavirus stimulus package, as he sees the pandemic as a way of achieving his goal to double American foreign aid to developing countries.

“I’ve got to call these people up and make the pitch to them that this really makes sense — and I totally, totally believe it makes sense,” he said.

In a column for The Financial Times, Mr Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, wrote that if wealthy countries hoard vaccines, the coronavirus would continue to spread unchecked and extend the duration of the pandemic.

“We understand the impulse to cut deals with pharmaceutical companies to reserve vaccine,” they wrote.

“But we should not mistake a few bilateral transactions for an effective strategy. The pandemic and the economic recession are global, and national solutions are inadequate. Borders are meaningless to pathogens and becoming less consequential to economies with each passing year.”

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