A new report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shows an 84% decline in global routine vaccinations during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, there is the uncertainty of whether the manufacturing and distribution of a potential Covid-19 treatment will be enough to swiftly end the pandemic.
“We’re at a critical moment where the research is going well, but we’re not clear yet whether we’re going to have the manufacturing and distribution we need to really tackle this pandemic,” Suzman said during an interview with CNBC’s Meg Tirrell on “Squawk Alley.”
“The Goalkeepers Report,” a report released by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, revealed that global routine vaccinations during the coronavirus pandemic have declined from reaching 84% of the world’s children last year to 70%, levels last seen 25 years ago.
Findings also showed the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women, racial and ethnic minority groups, and people in extreme poverty.
“The reason we put out this report every year is to normally highlight progress. This is a devastating setback,” Suzman said.
He added that the world could go back to normal levels within a couple of years if it can address the pandemic while running vaccination campaigns, which require providing Covid-19 vaccine doses to a huge population over a short period of time.
“It’s really really worrying when you see what Covid has done,” Suzman said.
The foundation’s report emphasizes the need for global economies to unite when it comes to coronavirus vaccine development and distribution.
The foundation urges countries to contribute to coronavirus vaccine and therapeutic research. Moreover, countries can expand the manufacturing for doses to the widest extent possible and distribute vaccines to those who truly need them regardless of nationality, according to the foundation.
Cited in the report is the modeling from Northeastern University that forecasts twice as many patients could die from Covid-19 if richer countries take all the first 2 billion vaccine doses rather than allocate them fairly.
Bill Gates’ reaction
Bill Gates has been vocal about the issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
As an example, the Microsoft founder believes should not go to “the highest bidder” and instead must be distributed to the people who need them.
“If we just let drugs and vaccines go to the highest bidder, instead of to the people and the places where they are most needed, we’ll have a longer, more unjust deadlier pandemic,” Gates told the audience of an online Covid-19 conference held by the International AIDS Society in July.
“We need leaders to make these hard decisions about distributing based on equity, not just on market-driven factors,” he added.
Gates finds US’ coronavirus response embarrassing.
He says that on both a global and national scale, the Covid-19 outbreak is “more bleak than I would have expected.”
“Because our behavior and our contact-tracing is not working well [in the U.S.], we continue to have very large case spread. And it is embarrassing,” Gates said during CNN’s “Coronavirus Town Hall.”
He thinks that one reason why the US has been hit the hardest is people being ambivalent to observing crucial Covid-19 protocol, which involves wearing a mask and self-quarantining.
“The range of behaviors in the U.S. right now, some people are being very conservative in what they do, and some people are basically ignoring the epidemic, it’s huge,” Gates told CNN. “We’ve worn out people’s patience.”