While 2020 will be remembered as the year a global threat touched nearly every person on the planet, we hope 2021 will be remembered as the year the whole world benefitted from an equitable and effective Covid-19 response
While 2020 will be remembered as the year a global threat touched nearly every person on the planet, we hope 2021 will be remembered as the year the whole world benefitted from an equitable and effective Covid-19 response. If there is reason for optimism, it’s that over the past year, the world has seen the largest public health effort in its history: One involving policymakers, researchers, health care workers, business leaders, grassroots organizers, religious communities, and so many others around the globe working together in new ways.
That kind of shared effort is important, because in a global crisis like this one, you don’t want companies making decisions driven by a profit motive or governments acting with the narrow goal of protecting only their own citizens. You need a lot of different people and interests coming together in goodwill to benefit all of humanity.
Philanthropy can help facilitate that cooperation. Because our foundation has been working on infectious diseases for decades, we have strong, long-standing relationships with the World Health Organization, experts, governments, and the private sector.
And because our foundation is specifically focused on the challenges facing the world’s poorest people, we also understand the importance of ensuring that everyone involved in the pandemic response is considering the unique needs of low-income countries, too.
To date, our foundation has committed $1.75 billion to the fight against Covid-19. Most of that funding has gone toward producing and procuring crucial medical supplies. For example, we backed researchers developing new Covid-19 treatments, and we worked with partners to ensure that these drugs are formulated in a way that’s easy to transport and use in the poorest parts of the world so they benefit people everywhere. We’ve also supported efforts to find and distribute safe and effective vaccines against the virus.
The fact that Covid-19 vaccines are already becoming available is a stunning testament to the power of global cooperation. No one country or company could have achieved this alone. Funders around the world pooled resources, competitors shared research findings, and everyone involved had a head start thanks to many years of global investment in technologies that have helped unlock a new era in vaccine development.
Of course, developing safe and effective vaccines is only the beginning of the story. Distributing the vaccine matters, too. Now, the world has to get those doses out to everyone who needs them — no matter where they live.
To make that happen, we’ll need to rely on organizations like Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Gavi has delivered vaccines to 822 million kids in low-income countries over the last 20 years, and now they’re helping lead the international effort to distribute Covid-19 vaccines.
When that moment gets here, it will be because of the people all over the world who came together to steer us through this crisis. Their courage and commitment will get us past this pandemic, and we owe it to them to recover in a way that leaves the whole world stronger and more prepared for the next challenge.