COVID-19 anti-vaxxers would 'let the disease continue to kill people', Bill Gates warns

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Bill Gates said conspiracy theories about a COVID-19 vaccine was 'worrying'. (PA)

As the search goes on to find a vaccine for coronavirus, Bill Gates has hit out at the “worrying” level of misinformation and conspiracy theories on social media.

The co-founder of Microsoft, whose Gates Foundation is heavily involved with Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance in trying to find a coronavirus vaccination, said that those against the vaccine – the so called ‘anti-vaxxers’ – would let COVID-19 “continue to kill people”.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It is troubling that in times like that, and accelerated by digital tools, there is so much craziness.

A man holds up an anti Bill Gates placard at a coronavirus anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine, anti-5G and pro-freedom protest in London. (AP)

"Eventually when we have the vaccine, we will want to develop the herd immunity to have over 80% of the population taken.

"If they have heard that it is a plot, or vaccines in general are bad, and we don't have people willing to take the vaccine, then that will let the disease continue to kill people.

"So it is a bit worrying that there is some of that crazy stuff.”

Commenting on the conspiracy theories surrounding Gates himself, he added: "I'm kind of surprised that some of that is focused on me.

"We are just giving money away to get there to be a tool – we just write cheques to pharma companies (and) we happen to have a lot of the smart pharmaceutical expertise in our foundation, and are considered a fair broker between governments and the companies to help pick the best approach.”

Scientists at Oxford University began human trials on a potential coronavirus vaccine in April, in a study involving over 500 people.

Initial results over whether the vaccine works are expected as early as mid-June.

Business secretary Alok Sharma – who is being tested for COVID-19 after appearing unwell in the House of Commons – in May said tests being carried out at Imperial College London were “making good progress”, with clinical trials set for later this month.

The government recently announced a further £84m in funding in the race to find a vaccine.

A person being injected as part of the first human trials in the UK to test a potential coronavirus vaccine, untaken by Oxford University. (AP)

The business secretary said: "This new money will help mass-produce the Oxford vaccine so that if current trials are successful we have dosages to start vaccinating the UK population straight away."

Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has finalised a "global licensing agreement" with Oxford University with government support – meaning 30 million doses could be available by September for the most vulnerable in the UK.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has previously said that 100 million doses of a vaccine would be available for the UK under the terms of the AstraZeneca deal.

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