Bill Gates doesn’t think we’ll have effective Covid vaccines by the end of the year


Bill Gates is worth over $100 billion dollars on paper, but he’s committed almost all of it to charity in his lifetime or in death. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is reportedly the largest private foundation in the world, with nearly $50 billion in assets. The Foundation funds incredible work in the developing world, from vaccine programs to medical research, educational initiatives and schools and tons more. Bill Gates has sort of become synonymous with vaccines, vaccine programs and vaccine research. He’s become quite the self-styled expert on vaccinology in the past 20 years, and of course he’s currently funding – to the tune of $350 million – vaccine research on the coronavirus. That’s also led to some really dumb conspiracies from the QAnon/Russian bot crowd, most of which do not bear repeating. So I was interested to hear what Gates had to say in this new Bloomberg interview, and guess what? He actually calmed me down?

Whether he’s confident we’ll have a Covid vaccine by the end of the year: “Well, the initial vaccine won’t be ideal in terms of its effectiveness against sickness and transmission. It may not have a long duration, and it will mainly be used in rich countries as a stopgap measure. We’d be lucky to have much before the end of the year. But then, in 2021, a number of other vaccines are very likely to get approved. The strongest response will probably come from the protein subunit. With so many companies working on it, we can afford quite a few failures and still have something with low cost and long duration.

On the anti-Vaxx movement: “The two times I’ve been to the White House [since 2016], I was told I had to go listen to anti-vaxxers like Robert Kennedy Jr. So, yes, it’s ironic that people are questioning vaccines and we’re actually having to say, “Oh, my God, how else can you get out of a tragic pandemic?”

Whether he thinks there should be a Covid vaccine mandate: “Making something mandatory can often backfire. But you might say that if you’re going to work in an old-folks home or have any exposure to elderly people, it would be required.

On the conspiracies that he unleashed the virus & something about 5G: “It’s strange. They take the fact that I’m involved with vaccines and they just reverse it, so instead of giving money to save lives, I’m making money to get rid of lives. If that stops people from taking a vaccine or looking at the latest data about wearing a mask, then it’s a big problem.

The conversation about hydroxychloroquine: “This is an age of science, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. In the test tube, hydroxychloroquine looked good. On the other hand, there are lots of good therapeutic drugs coming that are proven to work without the severe side effects.

How the pandemic will end: “The innovations in therapeutics will start to cut the death rate, but the true end will come from the spread of natural infections and the vaccine giving us herd immunity. For rich countries, that will be sometime next year, ideally in the first half. We’ll get out of this by the end of 2021.

Whether we’ll be okay long-term: “Certainly. We’re lucky this one wasn’t a more fatal disease.”

[From Bloomberg]

“The true end will come from the spread of natural infections and the vaccine giving us herd immunity…” Okay, that didn’t make me feel better, but everything else made me feel okay. It’s nice to just have a vaccine nerd remind everyone that science is still around and that a lot of brilliant people are working on this and hopefully by this time next year, we’ll just be in a much better place. Oh, and I friggin’ loved the shade for Robert Kennedy Jr. I feel like not enough people know that he’s an anti-Vaxxer.

Microsoft's Bill Gates in Tokyo

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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51 Responses to “Bill Gates doesn’t think we’ll have effective Covid vaccines by the end of the year”

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  1. Mireille says:

    Typical clinical trials can last anywhere between 2 years or more and while most companies are fast tracking these trials to find a vaccine, results of such … well take it for a grain of salt. We just don’t know if they’ll be effective enough or at all. However, that being said once one is made available, I probably would take it … and be the guinea pig for my family. I do hope whatever vaccine is created, there’s enough for the entire population that we can then achieve herd immunity. That being said, the flu vaccine is also incredibly important and I recommend that everyone gets one in the Fall.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      The plan for these is to grant them approval under EUA – while the long-term follow up in the phase III trials are ongoing. Companies/CROs & study sites are prioritizing these studies some of which are already recruiting. My guess is they’ll do multiple interim analyses starting when they have at least 50% of the participants complete their 3-month post dose follow up visit and, if positive, any EUA will be based on that data. I’m also assuming that the companies have data & safety monitoring committees that will be reviewing the data probably monthly. Companies have already scaled up for commercial manufacturing to have millions of doses available by the end of this calendar year. I don’t think there will be an issue with people getting access to receive it if they want it – there’s are a lot of anti-vaxxers who won’t want it and I suspect there will also be a lot of people who will hold back until they have enough follow up data to know if the immunoprotective effect lasts at least 6-12 months and for at least a year’s safety data

      I agree with @Mireille – even if you don’t normally get a flu shot or the flu & aren’t at high risk for it, it’s wise to get this year’s flu shot. Getting it is even more critical for anyone with an underlying respiratory condition and probably for those who tested COVID+ even if they didn’t have symptoms. Those who have underlying respiratory conditions may also want to speak to the HCPs about Prevnar even if you are under the age of 65

    • kelsey says:


      I want a vaccine as much as the next person but I also want it to be effective. God forbid a vaccine gets rushed out to the marketplace and it is a failure or causes serious side effects that weren’t caught because the testing trials weren’t complete. The last thing we need is to give anti-vaxxers ammunition or create even more.

      I know some of the vaccines being worked on were already in progress from those companies working on different SARS-related viruses but the COVID-19 virus has already mutated and keeps mutating. There are going to have to be multiple vaccines for this virus over the next few years.

      I always get the flu shot anyways and will definitely be getting it this year.

      • The Hench says:

        Geeky article here on its mutation, if allowed:

        It is mutating but more slowly than it might do and there is debate about whether some of these mutations have made it more infectious but also less serious. Also, debate about the fact that some mutations indicate its’s been around longer than we realised.

      • kelsey says:

        @The Hench:

        Thanks for the article!

        I originally answered in the wrong place – sorry!

      • The Hench says:

        @Kelsey – you’re welcome. Me too!

      • Sarah says:

        Thank you for the link @The Hench I had read something about mutations before suggesting that what is so widespread right now is already a mutation of what was first bring identified in China in January but it sounds as though things have moved on quite a bit.

      • adastraperaspera says:

        Interesting article on mutations! Yes, flu shot is so important–I wonder if they’ll be in short supply this year with so many more people wanting them.

    • Eleonor says:

      I have asked to my researchers friends, and they all answered the same thing, adding IF we find a vaccine not before june 2021,and there will be the logistic problem: how to give it to millions of people .

      • kelsey says:

        @The Hench:

        Thanks! I love reading these types of articles.

      • LittlePenguin says:

        I read an article a few weeks ago that there are some research groups trying to figure out how to dose this and who gets it first. However, for anything to work, we need governments to work together and not hoard vaccines they don’t need to start. Then a big part of it was front line health care workers. The other thing to note is this may land up being like your annual flu shot – you might need to get a booster or re-up your shot yearly.

      • Anne Call says:

        Probably prioritize health care workers first and then by age and people with pre- existing conditions. At least that’s what my doctor daughter in law thinks.

      • Nunya says:

        Let Gates and Fauci take it.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      Mireille Enos??????????????
      🤔 😘

      • Mireille says:

        LOL! No, not me. I am not the lovely and talented actress Mireille Enos. I am just plain, old boring Mireille of New York City.

  2. Call_me_al says:

    Thanks for covering this. Sounds about right. Science is real! Yes, Bill, shout it from the rooftops, anti-vaxxers are looney-tunes! Call them out by name, because they are killing people!!! Even if RFK Sr. is one of my personal heroes, his son is misguided at best!

    • holly hobby says:

      Thank god for Bill Gates! RJK Jr. never able to live up to the name of his father. What an utter failure no wonder why he is so keen on the Rumps. It takes a loser spawn to recognize other loser spawns.

      Now I need Jeff Bezos to fix the USPS.

  3. BlueSky says:

    So glad he said this. I’m in healthcare, and I keep telling people a vaccine will not happen this year. I tell people “This is not a movie where they find a cure for a virus in 2 hours and everything works out.” I’m so sick of these anti Vaxxers and all the BS that is being spread.

    • Sarah says:

      It feels as though we’re being hit from both sides, anti-vaxx (or ‘pro-death’ as I have seen then also described) and then those with completely unrealistic expectations for a vaccine who will be sorely disappointed. Plus plenty of bots stirring up disinformation and rumour.

  4. WilliamJoelene says:

    + writing your paper, getting your research peer reviewed and published…..

  5. Escondista says:

    I signed up for a trial! I want kids to be able to go to school again, families to be able to visit each other again, and for essential workers to feel safe again.
    So I’m doing what I can.

  6. STRIPE says:

    In my experience, anti-vaxxers, like all conspiracy theorists, have the need to feel smarter and be more important than they are. So they cling to their Google Search PhD and think that in their weekend couch research they have outsmarted medical professionals and researchers who have dedicated their lives to the subject. They should not be seriously entertained by anyone. Period.

    • court says:

      anti-vaxxers are typically ex-vaxxers. They believed as you do until something terrible happened to someone they love as a result of a vaccination. The medical community CREATES anti-vaxxers by denying responsibility and gaslighting families when side effects occur.

      • Call_Me_Al says:

        This is an interesting point that I had not considered before. I know there are risks but haven’t ever met someone who has had a rare side effect. I can see how that would create an anti-vaxxer because they are silenced.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Or by numerous recalls for contaminated products. I don’t agree with anti-vaxx ignorance driven by people who refuse to educate themselves how immunity works. I do understand where people who have been burned by a profit driven corporate system that considers safety regulations an impediment to their processes are coming from, though.

      • holly hobby says:

        No, a lot of them are because of that faulty report by that disgraced scientists (yes I’m talking about childhood vaccinations). It’s made worse by celebidiots who regurgitate that pap (looking at you Jessica Timberlake and Jenny Wahlberg). For the final time, vaccinations do not cause autism. Geez!

      • Aurelia says:

        Court, you got it in one.

    • Sarah says:

      I think an element of it is the lack of critical thinking being taught broadly in schools – how to evaluate information and form robust conclusions. Plus nearly anyone can write nonsense online and make it look ‘legit’ these days then it’s amplified and if I read the same thing from five different sources I (may) start to believe it.

      My cousin is flat-earth, anti-vaxx, doesn’t want to send his son to school because ‘science is lies’, on and on, oh and they quit FB and won’t use WhatsApp because they were being ‘tracked’. Yeah no-one cares about you, sorry. But they now do have an IG to document their life initially in a converted van they were living in when they first left the UK and now their new life in Portugal (even though they are pro-Bexit). What a mess.

  7. Jen says:

    The part that is worrying: “we’re lucky this wasn’t a more fatal disease”

    • GossipLover says:

      That part caught my attention too. And made my blood run cold.

    • Alexandria says:

      If I’m not wrong, viruses with a high fatality rate (e.g. Ebola) are not effective viruses and we wouldn’t have global lockdowns if COVID did not infect at this speed. If you have a lower fatality rate there is enough time for the virus to infect others because the living host is keeping it alive before it jumps to the next host. That’s why the influenza virus is hard to contain. It keeps spreading faster than it dies in the host.

      The scary part for those who recovered from COVID, is if they get long term damage to their lungs, brains, heart etc. I think this has been reported.

  8. Charfromdarock says:

    Anti-vaxxers make me incandescent with rage.

  9. Case says:

    I’m glad the consensus seems to be mid-2021 for the vaccine. I hope alongside that they find more effective treatment to help those who catch the virus — that would make me feel even better, knowing that a vaccine could only be 50% effective.

    I get a flu shot every year because the flu could make me very ill, and for the same reason I’ll be first in line for this vaccine. I just hope it’s not too rushed and works well.

  10. Sayrah says:

    I don’t understand how he is now evil to so many because he is such a proponent of vaccines and they’re morons who get worked up by doctored videos. It’s shameful.

    • sassafras says:

      They’d rather believe the nerds are evil (Gates, Fauci) than the Giant Demented Cheeto they voted for. To admit the second, they’d have to say they were wrong. Really really wrong. And the snowflakes can’t admit that.

  11. Sarah says:

    Although a pro-vaccine person myself I am not in a rush to get one with my current health. If something goes wrong. no dr will believe me

    • jwoolman says:

      I have a history of getting very sick from vaccines once I was an adult, so I avoid them myself. I just never feel up to getting sick on top of other issues. But vaccines do help cut down the spread in the community, which helps people like me.

      I wonder if my allergies would make me more likely to have the problem of too much of an inflammatory response to the virus (with my already too active immune system) killing me first (the “cytokine storm” that killed so many young people in the second wave of the 1918 flu pandemic, although I’m old as dirt).

      In any case, I really can’t afford to get this virus, financially or healthwise. I will let others be the guinea pigs and watch the research. Maybe I’ll get some work out of it – as a translator, I’ve often done translations of material involved in the “Phase IV” of clinical trials: post-marketing approval surveillance of adverse event reports and the relevant medical literature. If the product is even barely mentioned in a review article, the manufacturer has to track it and that means getting it translated if needed.

      But a simple solution for me has been to just keep in hermit mode, which I intend to do. For example, I avoid crowds during flu season and learned to avoid anything from the deli… and haven’t had a flu in more than 20 years. I can wait.

    • Dani says:

      Yeaaaa….this. I’m not anti vax by any means but I wouldn’t jump to take, or all my kids to take, a brand spanking new vaccine, especially if it came out by the end of the year.

  12. 10KTurtle says:

    Don’t read about how we in the US don’t have enough basic elements of mass vaccine administration like syringes, cotton balls, or even glass vials to put it in or you will panic all over again!

  13. PP says:

    Yup. I’ve said it all along; sadly America’s covid death toll will surpass one million.

  14. sassafras says:

    I think the fact that Covid19 doesn’t seem to strike children hard is one thing that’s working against the acceptance of a vaccine. If this was something that struck babies and toddlers like polio, I think we’d see more anti-vax moms quietly (or loudly) lining up for their doses. My dad has always told me stories about my grandma freaking out every time he had a fever or a leg pain because she was so afraid of polio. He remembers when the polio vaccine came out, every single mom in their small town lined up with all their kids to get it, even though it was “brand new” and “untested.”

    And that’s why I’m really not “afraid” of an unsafe vaccine. Science has done this before. They know corona viruses. The CDC has studied them and had vaccine plans lined up for decades. We have flu vaccines. We’ve (mostly) eradicated small pox and measles and polio. This is a battle that humanity has won before. We just need to all do our bit so that the front line (scientists) can load up the cannons properly and take this bad guy out.

  15. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Nor does anyone else who listens to experts.

  16. Veronica S. says:

    LOL, catch me miles away from any COVID vaccine released under this administration. I will line up for that flu vaccine, but like hell I’m satisfying their political games risking my health. Let his supporters guinea pig that shit.

    • jwoolman says:

      I also really worry about Trump cutting too many corners to get a vaccine pushed out before the election. Safety issues are really important and often don’t show up until enough people test it.

      Efficacy is another worry. If people need boosters every two or three months, that is going to be a problem. Likewise if the percentage with a good immune response isn’t high enough, making people careless when they are not really protected. Trump is already pushing for unsafe re-openings that are making things worse and negating all the stay at home practices trying to keep people from being easy hosts.

  17. Jessica says:

    Bill Gates, I love ya dude.

  18. BountyHunter says:

    I work full time for a small town public library. All of our computers are funded through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. They are updated and replaced every six years.
    For many of our low income students, retired or part time worker adults and the senior population, this is crucial.

    I hold a lot of admiration for the philanthropic ways they allocate their wealth.

  19. Mina_Esq says:

    I wish Bezos were as benevolent as Bill Gates. If he was planning to step up at any point, this mail-in-ballot delivery crisis may be it.