(From Oluwafunke Ishola, NAN)
Mr Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), says it will be a tragedy if a country continues to have an epidemic due to false vaccine rumours.
Gates made the assertion on Tuesday night during a virtual press conference with selected African journalists ahead of the launch of the 2021 Bill and Melinda Gates Annual Letters.
According to him, people who care about childhood death knew that vaccines were the best thing that ever happened.
“Smallpox killed over a million people a year, and because of vaccines, now smallpox is gone.
“The miracle of vaccines is very clear. When a child dies, that’s a very clear thing. We have very good statistics on what that was like before we got these new vaccines.
“Over 10 million children were dying under the age of five every year, with a high portion of those being in Africa.
“The more people learn about vaccines, the more amazed they should be about how fantastic they are,” he said.
The philanthropist noted that the safety issues involved in vaccines development were challenging considering the trials and need to use extremely well-regulated factories.
“A factory can only be built in a country whose regulator is a good standard regulator and can look at every aspect of that factory, making sure that it’s very very good.
“There are very few countries that have that safety review capacity that the world trusts,” he said.
Speaking on his COVID-19 vaccination experience, Gates said that he got his first dose of the vaccine last week.
“There are very, very few side effects, and it is protecting people.
“In fact, almost no one who has been vaccinated has had a severe disease which is really quite miraculous.
“I hope people will read the facts about vaccines, and how they’ve worked against other diseases.
“Now, we have millions and millions of people who’ve taken this vaccine and we’re tracking that experience to make sure we were right about the overall safety,” he said.
Gates said he was inoculated with the Moderna vaccine, saying he had no choice in the vaccine administered to him.
“I ended up getting the Moderna vaccine, I had no choice, they don’t ask what your preference is.
“There are only two vaccines approved in the United States right now, Pfizer and Moderna. They’re both very good vaccines and
“Anything that has gone through a phase three, and is approved by the UK or US regulator, I’m a huge believer in the quality of that work,” he said.
According to him, many people were frustrated at the length of time it took to get approvals for the vaccines.
He maintained that without following diligent processes for vaccine approvals, its effectiveness and safety would not be ascertained.