Bill Gates led effort to get $3.36 billion into the coronavirus deal to help vaccinate world's poor
When he appeared at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in October, Bill Gates had a prediction.
He said the coronavirus stimulus negotiations are the "best opportunity" to get approval to vaccinate the world's poorest people.
"The people in Congress who support these things have decided that [the stimulus plan] is the most likely way of doing something," said Gates. This realization of the co-founder of Microsoft (MSFT) has apparently come true.
As part of the announcement of a $ 900 billion coronavirus aid deal on Sunday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer "praised an additional $ 3.36 billion for a total of $ 4 billion - Dollars for GAVI, the international vaccine alliance ".
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on a visit to Washington in 2017. (REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst)
Democratic leaders said the money recognizes that "we are not really safe until the whole world is safe from coronavirus".
Gavi, a public-private health partnership, and a similar organization called the Global Fund have "spent two decades becoming experts in vaccine, drug and diagnostic funding," Gates wrote recently.
In a separate interview with Yahoo Finance recently, Melinda Gates discussed efforts to raise more funding for Gavi and stated that an entire distribution system is in place to get the vaccine out. "It is absolutely possible," she said, "you just have to do the planning now."
The alliance was founded in 2000 with the aim of making all vaccines more widely available. Gavi says it vaccinated 822 million children in the two decades of its existence and will play a key role in bringing the coronavirus vaccine to the poorest corners of the world in the coming year.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-NY) discussed an agreement on the Coronavirus Relief Act after a press conference on Sunday evening in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images)
The group says it has already signed contracts for nearly two billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, which will begin rolling out early next year. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a "core partner" of the group, but the lion's share of its funding comes directly from countries around the world.
Gavi gathered in June and raised $ 8.8 billion from world leaders to vaccinate the world's poor. President Trump sent a video message of support during the event but did not indicate any additional US contribution.
The group recently announced an additional $ 2 billion for the worldwide distribution of COVID vaccines from countries like France, Spain, the Republic of Korea and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gates and his allies paved the way for this funding for months, even if the Trump administration stayed away from leadership in other areas of the global pandemic response.
The July Republican stimulus proposal - known as the HEALS bill - included $ 3 billion for the Gavi Alliance.
In February the Trump administration promised to pledge Gavi $ 1.16 billion in fiscal years 2020-2023. The new funding is a substantial increase, but in keeping with the historic role the United States played in the Gavi Alliance. Over the years, the U.S. has contributed 13.7% to the group's operating budget - $ 1.4 billion between 2016 and 2020.
In October, before the additional money was received, Gates said an additional US contribution would be "in line with the US past of being very generous and leading the way in global health."
Ben Werschkul is a Washington, DC-based writer and producer for Yahoo Finance.
Democratic and Republican leaders reach $ 900 billion coronavirus aid deal that includes stimulus checks
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