Bill Gates calls for greater vaccine efforts to eliminate COVID-19 globally
Bill Gates on Wednesday called for scaling up efforts to achieve the goal of global elimination of COVID-19 as the world pins hopes on the development of vaccines to end the pandemic.
Vaccines "will allow us to develop a plan for the world to globally eliminate COVID-19," Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said at a virtual UN event on tackling COVID-19.
He said the capacity to produce billions of vaccines, the funding to pay for them and the systems to deliver them everywhere are vital to the global fight against the pandemic, while highlighting the importance of making vaccines available for countries and communities that are vulnerable to the disease.
The world's low and lower-middle income countries, home to nearly half of the global population, "risk not getting nearly enough doses," because "they don't have the purchasing power of the wealthy countries," said the Microsoft co-founder.
"The only way to eliminate the threat of this disease somewhere is to eliminate it everywhere," he noted.
In addition, Gates called on the international community to strengthen health systems in an effort to build a resilient system "that will help reduce the damage of the next pandemic."
"I'm confident that the world will build a plan to eliminate COVID-19, saving millions of lives and getting on a path to global recovery," he said.