Bill Gates, vaccines, and Africa — anti-vaxxers myths run amok

In case you don’t know, anti-vaxxers despise Bill Gates’ efforts to supply vaccines to Africa. Gates doesn’t do this personally, of course, but his foundation supports vaccinating kids in Africa so that those kids have a better chance at long and healthy lives.

One of the world’s leading sponsors of vaccine research and bringing healthcare (including vaccinations) to underdeveloped countries is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, located in Seattle, Washington.

There is nothing more commendable and moral than a person who has built incredible wealth and then decides to give it back to the world in a way that cannot be measured monetarily. Bill Gates’ foundation is working to eradicate polio and HIV in countries where they are some of the leading causes of death. And part of Bill Gates’ effort is to bring vaccines to all corners of Africa.

brown map on map
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Bill Gates, vaccines, and Africa — anti-vaxxer attacks

Of course, the Foundation’s support of vaccinations has caused it to be the target of the vaccine denialism movement. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gates was accused of everything from profiting from the vaccine to releasing the virus on the world just to make more money off of vaccines.

Ironically, when I was much younger, I was (and still am) an Apple fanboy, so I and my fellow Apple nuts would ridicule and mock Gates. Those days are long gone (although I still don’t use Windows), and now I come to admire Gates’ post-Microsoft life in doing good works, especially with vaccines.

However, some of the craziest attacks on Bill Gates come as a result of his efforts to get vaccines into Africa. Here are some of them:

  • Natural News, the faux science website, promoted one of the most pseudoscientific lunatics on the planet, Mike Adams, pushes the frightening news that a Gates Foundation partner forces vaccines on Malawian children at gunpoint, and arrests parents. And then there’s a blog, that insists that vaccines cause autism (no it doesn’t), and has this outrageous headline: 131 African Children Vaccinated at Gunpoint – Do Bill Gates and Paul Offit Approve? So, is this true? Well, every article about these vaccinations done at gunpoint referred to this article. It’s been pulled, for unknown reasons, probably because it was found to be inaccurate. It has not been replaced by any other article. And there’s no other article out there (other than the usual vaccine denialist websites repeating the same nonsensical myth) that substantiates this story. It was probably some police protecting the healthcare workers, but absent any other reliable evidence (and repeating the same myth is not evidence), it is nothing.
  • Another antivaccination group is pushing the story that Gates is at fault for 47,500 paralysis cases after the polio vaccine in India. However, there have been no cases of polio in India since 2011, and it is considered eradicated in that country. These cases of “polio” were identified as non-polio Acute Flaccid Paralysis, which can result from any number of non-polio viruses or bacteria. In this case, non-polio enteroviruses were identified as the cause and not polio that resulted from the vaccines themselves. As I discussed before, polio vaccines may spontaneously recombine in the wild and can be transmitted to other humans. However, in India with a population of 1.2 billion people, there have only been a few cases of actual polio from recombination events. If it were widespread, we’d see millions of cases, but we don’t. Let’s consider this particular myth debunked.
  • Uganda’s Children are Dying! Are Pharmaceutical Trials to Blame? It’s a mysterious disease, called Nodding Disease, which the anti-vaxxers immediately blame on vaccine trials (sponsored by Gates of course). Because those same anti-vaxxers have access to massive scientific laboratories staffed with huge numbers of scientists and medical professionals they were able to uncover this cause immediately. Well, actually they don’t. Real scientists are unsure of the cause, but they are running real clinical trials, providing real medical care, and attempting to uncover the real cause. That’s science.
  • Bill Gates says vaccines can help reduce the world population. And it’s Natural News at it again with quote mining. What Gates said was that the birth rate drops naturally because the survival rate of children INCREASES from vaccines! Saving children is precisely what vaccines are supposed to do — more children survive to adulthood.
  • There’s a photo being circulated that shows African children harmed by Bill Gates and then claims that Gates’ children are not vaccinated. Every part of it is a pure, unmitigated lie.
False Facebook post
  • This Facebook post was purely fictitious, there was no legitimate article published anywhere where Bill Gates “regrets” promoting COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.

What has Bill Gates done for Africa?

Let me just list some of the ways how Gates has promoted vaccines for Africa:

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been demanding that developed countries stop stockpiling COVID-19 vaccines for boosters and ship excess capacity to Africa.
  • The Gates Foundation used its bully pulpit to push for more COVID-19 vaccines to be shipped to Africa to deal with variants that were arising in Africa.
  • Gates believes that Africa should be the focus for preventing future pandemics, as many infectious diseases start there. Let’s just take a look at the monkeypox outbreak.
  • The Gates Foundation contributed US$120 million to get COVID-19 vaccines into lower-income countries.
  • The Gates Foundation is pushing for more rotavirus vaccinations in Africa. Rotavirus is a deadly disease in Africa, and this vaccine is one of the most powerful tools in preventing it.
rtavm-bill-gates-vaccines

Summary

I don’t think that Bill Gates is perfect, let’s not forget Windows Vista. Or Microsoft Zune, which was supposed to put iPod (RIP) into the junk heap devices — except that’s where Zune landed. Oops, this is a vaccine article, not an Apple vs. Microsoft history lesson. My point is that Bill Gates is using his vast wealth for good works, unlike many billionaires.

Bill Gates has decided to take that money that he has earned from ruling the computer world to do some good for the planet, saving lives. The vaccine deniers are just inventing lies because Bill and Melinda Gates have made it their cause to help the people of this world live better, live longer, and live healthier with vaccines and better health care.

Not that Gates is listening to me, but keep doing it, because Vaccines Save Lives.

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The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!