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The Optimist

Gavi COVID-19 partnership

When a COVID-19 vaccine is ready, this group will make sure the whole world can access it

You’ve probably been hearing about the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. There are dozens of potential candidates being researched. One might be ready as soon as next year.

I wanted to put the development of a COVID-19 vaccine in a bit more context: Where do vaccines come from? And once they’re developed, how do they get where they need to go? The story is more complex than you might think. I explain more (with the help of some interesting charts and graphs) in the video.


The history of vaccines is long. The first one for smallpox was discovered more than 200 years ago. But the portion of that history in which most people could access vaccines is comparatively short. Back around the turn of the millennium, there were still millions of children dying of preventable diseases every year.

This is a large part of the reason that Melinda and I got into philanthropy. One of our first big investments was to an organization called Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Since 2000, Gavi and partners have immunized more than 760 million children, saving over 13 million lives. And now, Gavi has a new effort underway to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for lower-income countries as soon as they are available.

About the Author

Bill Gates
Bill Gates is a co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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