Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bill Gates & The Politics of Vaccine Charity!


Bill Gates & The Politics of Vaccine Charity!
- Jagannath Chatterjee

Bill Gates and his foundation have declared 2010-20 to be a "decade of vaccines". Very recently Gates has persuaded a few world leaders to donate $ 2 billion to his charity towards vaccination of Asian and African children. More countries are expected to follow suit. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has earmarked $ 10 billion for this activity. This brouhaha over vaccines does not bore well for the underweight and malnourished children of Asia and Africa who will be harmed in large numbers unable to bear this antigen overload. 

These funds come out of taxpayers money and in each of the countries activists are up in arms because they have huge health expenses which the governments are not able to foot. They allege that it is the strong pharmaceutical lobby that is behind such charity. People who know the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) also know that the Foundation has invested handsomely in shares of pharmaceutical companies. It is also hiring people from the industry to head its vaccine charity. Bill Gates is no philanthropist. Instead he is a very shrewd businessman and he knows how to eat his cake and keep it too.

How will it affect the beneficiary countries economically? While these countries will be given free or heavily subsidized vaccines initially, they will be expected to foot the bill when the Foundation withdraws its charity. Economies will break under this strain. Development funds earmarked for genuine health care needs  like poverty eradication, improved nutrition, sanitation and clean water will instead have to be diverted to the activity of vaccination. Who gains from such a transaction? Obviously the pharmaceutical industry and its shareholders like the BMGF which will multiply its assets in the name of charity.

Some will point out that the industry has reduced the prices of vaccines to be given to the developing world. But this will not affect the industry at all. In their own country, the USA, the vaccine manufacturers have to pay a tax of 60% of the price of each vaccine that goes to a national vaccine injury compensation fund. This fund caters to compensation payed to vaccine injured children whose numbers are growing at a frightening rate. They don't have to pay such a tax on their exports. So the price of the vaccine being reduced does not hurt them in any way! 

Moreover they are reducing prices expecting their vaccines to find a place in the various government led universal vaccination schemes.Once this goal is achieved the huge turnover will benefit them immensely. The initial reduction in prices does not mean that they cannot raise the prices once their objective is achieved leading to entire governments being at the mercy of these profiteers.

So buyers beware! The new Rotavirus Vaccine and the Pentavalent vaccine that Bill Gates is now busy marketing comes with known adverse effects. While the Rotavirus is associated with a often fatal and very painful condition called  intestinal blockage in infants and children, the Pentavalent has caused child deaths in whichever country it has been introduced. Including these vaccines in government vaccination programs is fraught with grave dangers particularly as adverse affects and also deaths due to vaccines are routinely termed as "coincidental" in these countries and the victims are denied any benefits.

Had Bill Gates invested his money to pay damages to and rehabilitate the vaccine injured children in developing countries that would have been real charity. He could have also supported scientific research as to why 1 in 6 children today suffer from various development disorders, 54.1% suffer serious chronic illnesses and 45% of children and youth aged 10 to 24 suffer neuro-psychiatric disorders, as revealed in the recent issue of Lancet. All is certainly not hunky-dory with the highly controversial intervention called vaccination.

The emperor has no clothes. But sadly there is no one to point it out.

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