Bill and Melinda Gates on Thursday pledged another $70 million to help develop and distribute Covid-19 vaccine among people in low-income countries. The new funding follows more than $350 million already made in pledges earlier this year by Bill and Melinda gates Foundation toward developing low-cost vaccines for the poor in underdeveloped countries.
While the fresh round of funding was cheered by many, the news has once again kicked new life into conspiracy theories that have failed to spare Gates over the vaccine program. Conspiracy theories have now once again started claiming that the coronavirus is a conspiracy hatched by pharmaceutical giants and Gates, as part of a greater plan, is more so because the pledge comes just days after Pfizer announced that its Covid-19 vaccine has so far proved successful in the late-stage clinical study.
Why This Sudden Funding?
Of the $70 million made in a new pledge by the Gates Foundation, around $50 million will go to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, a fund established by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in a bid to assure access to a balanced distribution of coronavirus vaccines in 92 low-income countries. Another $20 million will go the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, or CEPI, which has been funding research and development on a promising suite of vaccine candidates.
The announcement from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation comes just three days after Pfizer said that its vaccine candidate has so far proved to be 90% effective in final-stage clinical trials, thus raising hopes that a vaccine may soon be available in the markets. The timing definitely raises question as conspiracy theorists have once again started claiming that Gates is behind the outbreak and now the vaccine is part of a bigger conspiracy.
What's Gates' Role?
Anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories fail to leave Gates from the day his foundation has started donating toward the development and distribution of the many vaccines in development stage. The biggest of the allegations has been that he had created coronavirus, which Gates has vehemently denied over the months.
However, it seems his pledge for a fresh round of donations has once again added fuel to the already existing conspiracy theories given the timing of the announcement. In fact, hours after Pfizer made the announcement on Monday, "Bill Gates" started trending on Twitter.
While some didn't take the theories seriously, many once again started subscribing to the views expressed by the tainted US researcher Dr Judy Mikovits in the viral video, in which she blames the coronavirus outbreak on a conspiracy led by pharma giants, Gates and the World Health Organization.
Conspiracy theorists have also been claiming that Gates is behind the entire outbreak and he is now seeking material gain by making pledges in the name of philanthropy.
While claims have also been made by conspiracy theorists that the Microsoft founder is adding sterilization formula in vaccines, Gates has called the calls false and "unfortunate". However, one thing is sure that every time positive news comes on the coronavirus vaccine front, Gates unwillingly gets dragged into controversy. And this time too it's not different.