Statement from Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been working urgently since January 2020 with a range of partners to help COVID-19 vaccines reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Today, with the heartbreaking surges in India and Brazil, and the lack of vaccines across African countries, it is clear there’s much more to be done.
No barriers should stand in the way of equitable access to vaccines, including intellectual property, which is why we are supportive of a narrow waiver during the pandemic. Those negotiations will occur via the WTO process, led by country negotiators.
From the earliest days of the pandemic, the foundation has been working to address the other barriers standing in the way of COVID-19 vaccine supply, including building up manufacturing capacity in low- and middle-income countries, facilitating technology transfers between companies, securing raw materials, and financing procurement and delivery so that safe and effective vaccines make it to people everywhere. And we will continue to advocate for countries with supply to share doses with those without as soon as possible, and for COVAX to be fully funded.
Looking ahead, we are committed to supporting the continued expansion of vaccine manufacturing capacity in countries around the world, including on the African continent. This will not be an immediate fix, but it is important to prepare for future outbreaks.
Getting vaccines to everyone who needs them is one of the causes Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates have committed their lives to. The Gates Foundation will use its resources to ensure that work continues and succeeds.