Home > In the News, Preventable Diseases > Gates on Vaccines: The Best Investment in Global Health

Gates on Vaccines: The Best Investment in Global Health

By Christine Vara

In raising my children, I have always emphasized the need for people to share their blessings with others.  Whether it is our time, our talent or our treasure, we all have something to give – something that can make an impact on other people and the world we live in. In some instances, people choose vocations that allow them to support this mission of helping others on a daily basis. In other instances, a person’s occupation choice could enable them the flexibility, the skills or even the finances to then help others. 

That might explain why I get inspired when I watch “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” with my children.  In Sunday night’s episode, a community pulled together to help the Brown family.  Tragically, they had lost their daughter in a car accident, and have now dedicated themselves to spreading the message not to text and drive in hopes of saving the lives of others.  Week after week these stories are not only inspiring to watch, but demonstrate that there are countless people trying their best to help others and positively impact the world around them.  

Most of us will probably never know about the important work these people do.  Take for instance one well-known entrepreneur, Bill Gates.  Though he’s practically a household name, he is hardly recognized for his numerous  philanthropic projects that he has initiated around the world.          

Bill Gates, best known as the man behind Microsoft, and one of the richest men in the world, has chosen to use his time, talents and treasure to improve global health.  Though he left Harvard to begin Microsoft with his childhood friend, he used his varied business skills to propel the company to success and become the worldwide leader in computer software, services, and solutions. Now, through his numerous charitable efforts, Bill Gates has identified new goals through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and has outlined a plan to achieve measurable success.  

Their mission, taken from their website, explains their mission:

“Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.”     

In regards to healthy lives, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working to ensure that children around the world have access to life-saving vaccines and they have since declared this The Decade of Vaccines.  Their desire to deliver the vaccines we have, and develop the ones we don’t, is critical to their goals.  They hope to use vaccines to reduce the number of deaths in children under the age of 5 and save 3 million lives over the next 10 years.  In the video that follows, Bill Gates is clear that vaccines are the “simplest, most inexpensive, most effective way to give all children a shot at a healthy, productive life”.  In advocating for polio eradication, he explains how “polio anywhere, is a threat everywhere”, which acknowledges the assertion that global health impacts us all.  One of my favorite quotes from this “Vaccines Save Lives” video is the statement he makes that “Big victories, like eradicating a disease, make us proud of what human beings are able to do for one another.” 

What I find most compelling about Bill Gates’ messages regarding vaccines is highlighted in this second video where he is able to connect the human element of saving lives to the good business practice of “small cost, big impact”.    He explains that the delivery cost of vaccines is low, with most current vaccines costing less than a dollar, and some being able to be administered in combination with others.  He adds that we must continue to develop new vaccines for diseases like malaria and AIDS, and he emphasizes that science is key.  In order to achieve their goals, he recognizes the importance of an established delivery system that will work to ensure that parents, in even the most remote places, know to bring their children in to receive the vaccines. 

When talking about vaccines, it is obvious that Bill Gates’ goal is not about corporate profits, but about saving lives.  Personally, I am grateful that Bill Gates has the resources and exposure to make a positive impact on global health.  While we may not individually have the wealth of Bill Gates to support us in our own advocacy, we can certainly share the goals of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  We can commit ourselves, with drive and determination, to do what we know to be “doable”.   Even our small successes, when combined, can make a big impact. 

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, check out the remainder of the vaccines series videos on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation page.  If you know of other individuals or organizations that are working hard to improve children’s health and promote immunizations, let us know by giving them a shout out in a comment below.  We want to applaud the good work being done and share the news and inspiration with all our readers.

  1. February 1, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you for this excellent article and for the two videos. It’s amazing how a small amount of money can save many lives.

    Like

  2. Steve Michaels
    February 1, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    If you REALLY believe that Bill Gates is trying to ‘save lives’, watch and listen to the REAL agenda out of his own mouth. Aside from the fact that he falsely attributes global warming (which has resulted in 13 successive years of cooling now) on CO2 output, his formula for saving the planet (for him and his elitist friends, not you and me) includes population reduction. In his own words, “If we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, and reproductive services (read ‘abortion’) we can lower that (population) by perhaps 10 or 15 per cent.”

    Watch him saying it yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKIl34rV-3o

    Now I don’t know about you, but how does the same ‘health care’ and vaccines that are argued for on this site because they SAVE lives result in a 10-15% population REDUCTION???? Somebody has got it wrong. Is it the hapless shills on this site or the man who is bankrolling this stuff? It’s time to wake up and realise that you shills are arguing for your own, and your children’s, early demise. The man who finances this stuff probably knows more about what he is paying for than you!

    Like

  3. Steve Michaels
    February 1, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    If you think I am barking up the wrong tree, listen to some of his other statistics: Global CO2 output: 26 Billion tons;
    Average CO2 output per AMERICAN: 20 tons;
    Average CO2 output per third world person: 1 ton

    If your stated desired or expected result was to reduce CO2 output AND reduce population, who would YOU want to kill off?

    973,000,000 people (UN population estimate 2008) at 1 ton output per person or 973,000,000 or 973,000,000 tons of annual CO2 output or:

    337,000,000 North Americans at 20 tons per person or 6,740,000,000 tons of annual CO2 output? Wake up and smell the coffee people.

    Like

  4. Gary
    February 1, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    “If your stated desired or expected result was to reduce CO2 output AND reduce population, who would YOU want to kill off? ”

    Reducing projected population is NOT the same thing as killing people off. Do you consider charitable gifts designed to reduce next year’s tax burden tax fraud?
    You are making assumption about a plan which does not exist with no evidence what so ever.

    Like

  5. Chris
    February 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Women typically have fewer children when they see more children growing to adulthood. This is explained visually here:

    Like

  6. Chris
    February 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    This is a longer forty minute video going over much of the same in more detail, including the importance of making sure children reach adulthood:

    Like

  7. Nathan
    February 1, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Here’s the full quote of the TED talk (emphasis mine):

    First we’ve got population. Now, the world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent, but there we see an increase of about 1.3.

    It is clear he is talking about slowing population growth, not depopulating – in fact even with the “really great job” he states there will still be an increase in population of a factor of 1.3. Certainly you can’t be so single-minded that you can’t see that.

    Now, undoubtedly, Steve, you are going to assert that it is impossible that better health care can slow population growth, when indeed it can. The question is whether you are willing to listen to the reasoning.

    Like

  8. Steve Michaels
    February 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Your argument that his desire is to reduce population growth because “Women typically have fewer children when they see more children growing to adulthood” is absurd. It would take at least 2 generations for this to occur, over which time women would still be having multiple children, except that with a lower infant mortality rate, the population would SKYROCKET. Completely against the stated goal. Rates of population growth could double or more based on your analysis. Population ‘reduction’ requires immediate changing of certain vital statistics. Firstly, birth rates must be lower than mortality rates, or said another way, more people have to die each year than are born. Secondly (and not unrelated to the first), life expectancies must decrease. One of the ways this may be achieved is through a pregnancy vaccine. http://www.fwhc.org/health/vaccine.htm

    I have quoted this often as testing has already been confirmed and cited in Mexico and the Philippines. Great use of vaccine technology. Another is through ‘health care’ that makes you sick. Without making a relational claim directly to vaccines, why is it that some 46% of Americans are on prescription drugs? (as of 2002, numbers higher now) http://www.chaada.org/Page3.html. Why are nearly 25% of children on prescription drugs, with over 6% on multiple drugs? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203731004576046073896475588.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_editorsPicks_1

    Is this because medical interventions have made us a ‘healthier’ population? Health care should begin with prevention. Prevention begins with nutrition, yet we are being peddled drugs like they are vitamins and vitamins are being phased out. http://theintelhub.com/2011/01/05/fda-headquarters-fda-moves-to-ban-injectable-vitamin-c/ Why?

    Like

  9. Nathan
    February 3, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Hey wow, let’s try to stick to the topic at hand, Steve, instead of addressing everything that falls out of your imagination.

    Population ‘reduction’ requires immediate changing of certain vital statistics. Firstly, birth rates must be lower than mortality rates, or said another way, more people have to die each year than are born. Secondly (and not unrelated to the first), life expectancies must decrease.

    Sure, if population reduction is the goal. But that is not the goal. Reduction of population growth is the goal. That’s different. The population will continue to get bigger. The goal is to make it get bigger more slowly.

    It would take at least 2 generations for this to occur, over which time women would still be having multiple children, except that with a lower infant mortality rate, the population would SKYROCKET.

    Says you. Acutal experts and studies say otherwise.
    http://jjjtir.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/family-size-and-immunization-status-of-the-underfive-children.pdf

    Let me know if this still doesn’t make sense.

    Like

  10. Chris
    February 3, 2011 at 1:04 am

    I believe the generation thing was addressed in the longer Rosling video. It is not that big a deal. Plus it is one reason why population will increase by a third. As Nathan says, it is about slowing population growth, not stopping it. There is a recent National Geographic Special Series that directly addresses this issue.

    I was a talk about world health at a local college. There was discussion on getting people in developing countries basic things like clean water, reliable food crops and appropriate technology (like simple efficient fuel burning cooking stoves, something a group called “Engineers Without Borders” is working on). One of the instructors was certain that India families were big because it was their culture, not the circumstance. But that made me think of Italy, where large families were once also part of their culture. Except, now as part of a modern economy, their families are very small.

    Two things that Dr. Rosling notes in the longer video that contribute to smaller families are educating women and health policies that allow more children to grow into adults. No silly “pregnancy vaccine” required.

    This is noted in the National Geographic series linked to earlier. Like with this bit:

    And because, for a time, women kept giving birth at a high rate. In 18th-century Europe or early 20th-century Asia, when the average woman had six children, she was doing what it took to replace herself and her mate, because most of those children never reached adulthood. When child mortality declines, couples eventually have fewer children—but that transition usually takes a generation at the very least. Today in developed countries, an average of 2.1 births per woman would maintain a steady population; in the developing world, “replacement fertility” is somewhat higher. In the time it takes for the birthrate to settle into that new balance with the death rate, population explodes.

    Like

  11. Nathan
    February 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    That was an extremely good article, Chris. Thanks. It puts the population “explosion” into perspective and is a good read all around.

    Like

  12. Steve Michaels
    February 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Nice side stepping there Nathan. The reason my point about the drugged up American population are twofold. Firstly, Gates (the topic of the blog) explicitly states that ‘health care’ will be used to reduce the population. Secondly, you seem to come from the view that anyone who opposes vaccines wants children to die by ‘medical neglect’ as you see it because all of these great breakthroughs have apparently brought us from the brink of imminent extinction from disease by providing preventative medicine and saving us all. What a load of hogwash. Please don’t accuse me of the straw man argument here. I have conversed with you enough to see that this is your view. I am not a neglectful parent because I have opted out of vaccines. My children receive natural vitamin supplements, eat fresh raw food (including milk) and have each had ZERO ear infections, and average one cold/flu per year as opposed to the NHS published expectation that children can be ill up to 8 times per year and not be considered of ill health. They are both advanced both intellectually and physically compared to their vaccinated counter parts.

    Now if you look below, Chris has been so kind as to absolutely refute your claims about population and back up my claim that the population would explode if vaccines worked ‘as advertised’:
    “When child mortality declines, couples eventually have fewer children—but that transition usually takes a generation at the very least. Today in developed countries, an average of 2.1 births per woman would maintain a steady population; in the developing world, “replacement fertility” is somewhat higher. In the time it takes for the birthrate to settle into that new balance with the death rate, population explodes.”

    Now then, back to the Gates quote in context:
    Main topic “INNOVATING TO ZERO” So what does he say needs to get to zero? CO2 output. (again this is incorrect and climate figures backup the fraud of this argument). So his equation is CO2=PxSxExC where P is population, S is services, E is energy to provide services and C is CO2 output per unit of energy. To get this equation to zero he says, ‘one of these numbers needs to get pretty close to zero’. While he does say that he believes that the population is heading towards 9 billion, AT NO POINT DOES HE SAY WE CAN REDUCE GROWTH BY 10-15%. HE REFERS TO POPULATION and then he refers to ‘IT’ with the ONLY grammatical reference point to ‘IT’ being ‘POPULATION’.

    Like

  13. Steve Michaels
    February 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    By the way, I note your lack of addressing the ‘pregnancy vaccine’ issue. I brought it up on previous threads and you treated me like a nut case. Now the idea is coming out ‘mainstream’. Go figure…

    Like

  14. Nathan
    February 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Steve, that’s because your “pregnancy vaccine” link is ridiculous and off topic. I thought Chris addressed it adequately.

    Like

  15. Nathan
    February 3, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Steve,

    Firstly, Gates (the topic of the blog) explicitly states that ‘health care’ will be used to reduce the population.

    No, he states that health care will be used to reduce population growth. Is that really not getting through?

    Secondly, you seem to come from the view that anyone who opposes vaccines wants children to die by ‘medical neglect’ as you see it because all of these great breakthroughs have apparently brought us from the brink of imminent extinction from disease by providing preventative medicine and saving us all. What a load of hogwash.

    That is not my view at all. I do not think that parents who do not vaccinate are neglectful, as most parents are trying to do what is best for their children. For the most part, I think they are deceived by misinformation and lies. Similarly, you are not a neglectful parent by any means. You are simply wrong.

    They are both advanced both intellectually and physically compared to their vaccinated counter parts.

    I would put my vaccinated kids up against yours any day of the week, as would many parents. But that will not help us solve the question of whether vaccinated kids are healthier. We must look to science, which indicates that vaccinated children have less upper respiratory infections, less SIDS, and certainly less vaccine preventable diseases.

    Now if you look below, Chris has been so kind as to absolutely refute your claims about population and back up my claim that the population would explode if vaccines worked ‘as advertised’

    No, he put your claims of population exploding in context – initially there will be a brief increase in population, followed by a sustained era of lower population growth. Read the articles we both posted.

    Anyone being intellectually honest who reads the full quote from Gates, as posted above, will conclude that he is talking about reducing population growth, not total population reduction. He says quite clearly that the population is going to grow by a factor of 1.3 despite interventions. He has also has discussed this in other interviews.

    Like

  16. Chris
    February 4, 2011 at 1:48 am

    You’re welcome. Here is graphic of internet arguments you might enjoy. It needs to be tweaked to include in the flow chart:

    “Has your question been answered?”–> Yes. Who cares? Ask again!
    |
    \/
    No. Then badger them until they do!

    Repeat and turn into an infinite loop.

    Like

  17. Gary
    February 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    “HE REFERS TO POPULATION and then he refers to ‘IT’ with the ONLY grammatical reference point to ‘IT’ being ‘POPULATION’.”

    Yeeeeeeeees, but the POPULATION is FUTURE POPULATION. The difference between current population and future population is…..

    Wait for it………

    No, I said wait for it………

    POPULATION GROWTH!!!!!!!

    Like

  18. Snoozie
    February 9, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I agree!

    Like

  1. February 1, 2011 at 4:29 pm

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