Durbin, Bill Gates: We Must Focus On Global Vaccine Equity

During phone call, Durbin and Gates discuss global pandemic preparedness

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke by phone with Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about global COVID-19 vaccination efforts and barriers to achieving the Global Vaccine Alliance’s distribution goal of 1.9 billion shots, including supply shortages, vaccine hoarding, and inadequate health care infrastructure in many nations. In particular, Durbin and Gates discussed the importance of preparing for the next pandemic and establishing the ability to develop vaccines within 100 days.

Durbin and Gates discussed funding included in the House of Representatives’ budget reconciliation package to invest $15 billion in such pandemic preparedness – specifically to develop early warning systems to detect potentially dangerous viruses, strengthen the public health system, expand laboratory capacity, and speed vaccine development time.

“If we want to put this pandemic behind us, we must make sure we are not only getting shots in arms at home, but around the world – and President Biden’s announcement today of another 500 million U.S.-donated doses for around the world is an important step in that direction,” said Durbin. “I admire Bill’s ongoing commitment to helping meet this goal and to building more resilient global health systems for the worlds’ poor.”