The world would be a better place if all billionaires gave back as much as Bill Gates.
By Uzodinma Ukagwu
The anti-vaxxers and some elements of the religious and political right around the world, have formed an alliance of sorts against Bill Gates during this pandemic. What is his crime? You guessed it. They claim the ‘evil’ man is funding COVID-19 research towards a vaccine, which he plans to forcefully use on the world. Some even go further to claim his vaccine will cull the world’s population.
The New York Times reported that these conspiracy theories were mentioned 1.2 million times on TV from February to April 2020. These theories have spread online like wildfire, with 10 of the most popular videos viewed over five million times on YouTube, and 16,000 posts garnering over 900,000 likes and comments.
Perhaps the most prominent of the anti-vaxxers is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the black sheep of the Kennedy family. Always eager to share his thoughts on anything concerning vaccines, this self-appointed spokesman for the anti-vaccination movement in the U.S. has been as loud as ever in the midst of this pandemic.
Kennedy has accused Gates of planning to control and surveil the world, while also profiting from his coronavirus research efforts.
Roger Stone, disgraced advisor and confidant, who was recently sentenced to 40 months in prison also contributed his two cents on the matter.
Back in April, Stone claimed in an interview with radio host Joe Piscopo that whether Gates “played some role in the creation and spread of this virus is open for vigorous debate.”
“The viciousness and insidiousness of these conspiracy theorists…is disgraceful and harmful in the long term to global public health efforts.”
Gates has not wasted his time responding to the conspiracy theorists attempting to label him as the Antichrist, but has enthusiastically continued to keep his head down and focus on coronavirus research. He has re-focused his foundation’s efforts almost entirely on finding a vaccine for COVID-19.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the most important health-focused organizations in the world, even spending more on global public health and research than the World Health Organization itself. The foundation’s many accomplishments include boosting world immunization rates through funding for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, and helping to fight infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, Polio, and malaria.
The fact is that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has become almost indispensable to the global health architecture.
The world needs more ‘Bills’ and ‘Melindas’. They are enviable and emulatable models who should be praised for their good work and not attacked. We would undoubtedly make considerable progress improving quality and expectancy of life around the world if each of the more than 2,000 billionaires in the world were to commit to bankroll research and treatment for dedicated disease.
The viciousness and insidiousness of these conspiracy theorists is disgraceful and harmful in the long term to global public health efforts, especially in the area of vaccinations.
We can’t fix stupid, but we must try.
All leaders of religious and political groups susceptible to anti-vaccine misinformation must not relent in speaking up against their propaganda, so the damage done by them can be minimized. All well-meaning people must band together to challenge the broader disinformation campaign started by these anti-vaxxers and their allies by actively contesting every one of their unfounded claims in our spheres of influence.
Copyright© 2020 by Uzodinma Ukagwu