In a recent one-on-one interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Bill Gates discussed his foundation’s $10 billion pledge over the next ten years to develop and deliver vaccinations to children worldwide. When the recent Andrew Wakefield scandal was brought up by Dr. Gupta, Gates re-affirmed the charge that Dr. Wakefield used fraudulent data for his 1998 study, mainly due to financial interests in lawsuits at the time. Additionally, Gates went on to say that people who engage in anti-vaccination efforts “kill children.”
While there is no doubt reduced vaccinations levels over the last ten years has led to many preventable diseases and even some deaths, Gates’ statement is a bit misleading.
Most responsible “anti-vaccine people” are not running around discouraging parents from vaccinating their children. And in fact, the term “anti-vaccine” is a mischaracterization as most people on the other side of the debate are not advocating for the elimination of vaccines, as Gates implies.
In realty, vaccine awareness groups (a more applicable term) such as Safe Minds and Generation Rescue have been pushing for education and awareness of potential dangers and safety concerns. Furthermore, there has been a strong effort by these types of organizations to revise the current CDC vaccination schedule, not eliminate it altogether.
Obviously, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is doing significant work in helping to improve the health and safety of children around the world. However, as with most involved in the vaccine-autism debate, there is typically no middle ground when it comes to this issue. Opposing groups are always convinced that the other side is wrong, leaving very little room for compromise. As a result, sweeping and sensational accusations are made, which include “anti-vaccine groups kill children” from one side and “pharmaceutical companies poison children” from the other.
It would be nice to see a little more objectivity in this continuing debate. However, don’t expect it from Bill Gates, particularly since he is so heavily vested in the pro-vaccine movement — to the tune of ten-billion dollars.
It should also be worth noting that Gates himself has been suspected to have Asperger’s Syndrome, which would further throw any objectivity out the Windows.