Bill Gates says the 'final hurdle' to a COVID-19 vaccine will be ensuring that people actually use it

Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
REUTERS / Jason Lee
According to Bill Gates, a "final hurdle" in distributing a COVID-19 vaccine will be to make sure people choose to take it.
Given the urgency of the pandemic, it can prove difficult to test vaccine candidates across a wide range of populations and ages, Gates said.
Still, Gates believes that "many" people will take a vaccine as soon as one is available, and believes that herd immunity can be achieved if 70% to 80% of people take it.
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The final obstacle to distributing a coronavirus vaccine will be to make sure enough people are actually taking it, Bill Gates said in a recent CNN interview. The billionaire philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft has contributed millions to coronavirus research.
"The choice is yours whether you take the vaccine or not," Gates told Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta from CNN in a town hall of Coronavirus. "So there is this last hurdle."
According to a Reuters / Ipsos survey released in May, three-quarters of Americans said they would take a coronavirus vaccine if they were safe. Approximately 40% of American adults surveyed said they would take it if the Food and Drug Administration approved it, while 38% said they would take it after extensive, expertly-reviewed clinical trials. 38 percent of respondents also said they would wait until a majority of the public took the vaccine before taking it themselves.
More than 28,000 people have also joined an organization called 1Day Sooner, which, according to The Washington Post, is conducting human challenge trials to test vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 140 vaccine projects are under development. Although research is progressing rapidly, there are still many challenges in collecting data to show that a vaccine would work and ramp up production, as Andrew Dunn of Business Insider reported.
The U.S. Department of Health aims to deliver 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine by January 2021 as part of its broader strategy to develop and spread COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
The urgency of the coronavirus pandemic, which killed 489,922 people and infected 9.6 million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, could make it difficult for scientists to spend a lot of time testing vaccines with different ages and populations.
"It is understandable that the urgency means that it takes less time to deal with it," said Gates when asked about the issue of vaccine reluctance. "And even for scientists who really understood: 'Ok, were the study populations responsible for all of these different groups? How low is the age range? ... How do you feel about pregnant women, what about older people? It's a challenge to maintain this security database to build trust. "
Gates and his wife Melinda contributed $ 250 million to the development of treatments, tests and vaccines for COVID-19 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The funds will also help fight corona viruses in low and middle income countries.
Overall, Gates believes that "many people" will be ready to take the vaccine and herd immunity could be achieved if between 70% and 80% of people do.
"It could really make the numbers drop exponentially," said Gates. "But we need that for the whole world when we return and have people on vacation, international students, international sporting events, so it will take a while to get this done on a global basis."
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