Melinda Gates: COVID-19 Vaccine Should Be Used on Black People First
Bill Gates' wife says African Americans should get the drug before white people
Melinda Gates has said in an interview that when a COVID-19 is developed, it should be given to black people first, right after health workers.
Between 2018 and 2019, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which she founded with her Microsoft co-founder husband, gave more money to the World Health Organization (WHO) than any other entity except the U.S. government.
President Donald Trump recently cut ties with WHO over concerns over the UN health body's relationship with the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Melinda, who is married to the second richest man in the world Bill Gates, has revealed who she believes should be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
In an interview with TIME Magazine ahead of the 2020 Global Vaccines Summit, she said health workers will most likely be first in line to be vaccinated.
Gates added that the shot should then be given to black people and "many other people of color" before being used on white people.
While speaking at the summit on June 4, co-chair Bill Gates announced that his foundation would give $1.6 billion to the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) over the next five years.
TIME spoke with Melinda Gates ahead of the summit about COVID-19 and what will happen to WHO:
TIME: "The scale of anti-racism protests we’re seeing right now is incredible.
"How does this moment relate to your work in health equity?"
Gates: "What happened to George Floyd was brutal and horrible and should never happen to anyone, anywhere.
"This is a moment of reckoning in the United States.
"We all need to really pause during this time and learn as best we can from it.
"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."
TIME: "How do you make sure that happens?"
Gates: "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."
TIME: "Who needs it after health care workers?"
Gates: "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."
TIME: "When do you think most people will get vaccinated?"
Gates: "We’re probably 18 months out from that."
TIME: "Do you have concerns about how a Trump Administration—if Trump is still president at the time—will distribute the vaccine?"
Gates: "We’re all concerned that the vaccine not go to the highest bidder.
"There are some signs that early doses may get bought up, and I think that would be a shame for the entire world.
"It’s important for world leaders to step up and lock arms and say, ‘This is about everybody, whether you live in India, or Tanzania, or Switzerland.’"
TIME: "How will the U.S. pulling out of the WHO affect the organization’s work?"
Gates: "The WHO is not a perfect institution. No institution is perfect.
"But the middle of a pandemic is the last moment you should be making changes or pulling out.
"WHO was set up to deal with pandemics like this, to deal with things like smallpox, to deal with things like polio.
"The U.S government is the largest funder of the WHO.
"Nobody can replace the funding the U.S was putting into the WHO.
"This decision will touch everything at the WHO.
"I worry deeply about polio. I’m worried deeply about measles. I’m worried about Ebola.
"If we didn’t think we were global, COVID has certainly pointed it out to us.
"The United States was a founding member of the WHO after World War II because we saw how important it was.
"To be going back on something that we know will help all of us, that’s just senseless.
"It’s another thing to do a postmortem when this crisis is over and say, ‘Hey, we need some structural changes to WHO, or we need different governance,’ but not in the middle of a pandemic.
"You just don’t do that."
As Neon Nettle reported last month, a Bill Gates-funded COVID-19 tracking program was shut down by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Seattle-based initiative, Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, or SCAN, has been ordered to halt its at-home coronavirus testing scheme by the federal authorities.
The FDA has ordered SCAN to stop screening for the virus, putting the program, that has been providing hundreds of home testing kits each day, on pause.
As of Wednesday, all links to the project’s website now redirect to a notice stating its operations are “currently paused” due to a conflict with the FDA.
“SCAN has been operating under an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Washington State Department of Health,” the notice says.
“We have been notified that under revised guidance issued on May 8th, a separate federal EUA is now required” to continue testing.