Melinda Gates: ‘Black People, Indigenous People’ Should Get Coronavirus Vaccine First

In this Feb. 1, 2019, Melinda Gates speaks while being interviewed in Kirkland, Wash. Bill and Melinda Gates are pushing back against a new wave of criticism about whether billionaire philanthropy is a force for good. The couple, whose foundation has the largest endowment in the world, said they’re not …
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Bill Gates’ wife, Melinda, said last week during a virtual Forbes philanthropy summit with her husband that “black people” and “indigenous people” should receive the coronavirus vaccine first, if they are in the healthcare field.

“One of the reasons we are so involved in this is that you don’t want the first vaccines to go to the highest-bidding countries,” Melinda Gates said. “There are 60 million healthcare workers. They deserve to get the vaccine first, they’re the ones dealing with this on the front lines, trying to keep us all safe.”

Gates then went on to explain who in the healthcare industry should receive the vaccine first.

“Then you have to start to tier from there, based on the countries and the populations,” Gates continued. “Here in the United States, it’s going to be black people who really should get it first and many indigenous people, as well as people with underlying symptoms, and then elderly people.”

Since nearly the beginning of the pandemic, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has lent financial support to finding a vaccine for COVID-19. They have donated to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which the foundation claims will work to pay for and distribute doses of the vaccine to countries of low-income.

Bill Gates commented on a few prospective vaccines, which are made by Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. He also accused the U.S. government of evading “global problem-solving” and “just trying to cast blame” with its withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Usually the United States plays a role in global problem-solving, so rather than withdrawing from WHO, they’d be involved, collaborating with other countries, not just trying to cast blame,” Gates said.

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