Bill Gates disagreed with sharing 'the recipe' for the coronavirus vaccines, but it doesn't mean he's refusing to expand production in developing nations

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Bill Gates disagreed with sharing 'the recipe' for the coronavirus vaccines, but it doesn't mean he's refusing to expand production in developing nations
Microsoft cofounder and former CEO-turned philanthropist Bill Gates.Elaine Thompson/AP Photo
  • Bill Gates is being accused of refusing to share COVID-19 vaccine formulas with developing nations.
  • The source of that accusation is a Sky News interview with Gates - but he doesn't say that.
  • Instead, Gates speaks to the difficulties of ramping up vaccine production in untested facilities.

Bill Gates has advocated for pandemic preparedness for years, and famously gave a TED talk in 2015 that warned of the potentially staggering death toll a worldwide pandemic could create.

Now, as COVID-19 vaccines roll out in response to the ongoing worldwide pandemic, Gates is being accused of withholding vaccine recipes from developing nations due to his response in a recent interview.

"Bill Gates says no to sharing vaccine formulas with global poor to end pandemic," one headline reads. "Bill Gates under fire for saying vaccine formulas shouldn't be shared with developing world," said another.

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Both pieces cite a Sky News interview with Gates that ran this week, wherein Gates is asked if it would be helpful to change intellectual property law in order to enable "the recipe for these vaccines to be shared."

Gates answers, "No," which by itself could be interpreted as him standing up for intellectual property law and refusing to share vaccine formulas with developing nations. But then Gates goes on to answer the inevitable follow up question: "Why not?"

The reason, Gates said, is due to the complexity of manufacturing safe vaccines.

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"There are only so many vaccine factories in the world, and people are very serious about the safety of vaccines," he said. "The thing that's holding things back in this case isn't intellectual property. It's not like there's some idle vaccine factory with regulatory approval that makes magically safe vaccines. You've gotta do the trials on these things. And every manufacturing process has to be looked at in a very careful way."

Moreover, Gates said getting COVID vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to share vaccine formulas has already happened - such as the case with India.

"We got all the rights from the vaccine companies," he said. "They didn't hold it back, they were participating."

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You can watch the full interview with Gates here:

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