If even a minority of the US populace were vaccinated against COVID-19 once it becomes available, it will be enough to slow down the pandemic’s spread in the country, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said, Fox News reported on Tuesday.
Speaking to The Economist, Gates took the time to criticize the US response to the coronavirus pandemic, crediting its spread in the country to slow initial testing efforts and the refusal of some Americans to wear masks because Americans “believe in freedom, individual freedom.”
However, only 30%-60% of the population actually need to be willingly vaccinated in order for the pandemic to slow and eventually stop, Gates explained. He added that once the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a vaccine, which it is expected to do sometime in 2021, “it will bring the pandemic to an end.”
Of all the vaccine candidates in development, Gates believes AstraZeneca is the furthest along in creating an effective vaccine that is “inexpensive and highly dispersable.”
Gates has been heavily invovled in philanthropy efforts with his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and has been heavily involved in support for and investment in medicine and vaccine development. Notably, Gates had predicted back in 2015 that if a global pandemic struck, the world wouldn’t be prepared.
Due to his name being linked to many medical and vaccine development efforts as well as his prediction from five years ago, many conspiracy theorists include Gates in their theories about the coronavirus pandemic. One popular theory posits that Gates is tricking the world with his position on vaccines, which are in fact merely a ruse to inject billions of people across the globe with microchips.
Worryingly, a Yahoo/YouGov poll conducted in May found that 44% of Republicans believed the theory, as do 20% of Democrats.