…in shaping the world’s response to this and future pandemics.
An in-depth Politico report shows how powerful non-governmental organizations wielded incredible influence in shaping the global response to the COVID pandemic—with almost no oversight. The report notes that four global non-governmental organizations, all with ties to Bill Gates—the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)—took on the role often played by national governments, except they aren’t accountable to democratic institutions.
Even before the pandemic struck, Gates and his circle exercised a great deal of power and influence over public health. Anthony Fauci, Gates, and the Wellcome Trust control 63 percent of the biomedical research on Earth through their funding. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the second largest contributor to the World Health Organization (WHO). This gives these individuals unprecedented authority to implement their agenda without public discourse or input. It just so happens that this agenda is focused on developing and distributing vaccines that buttress the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. This agenda also includes control over agriculture and food production: Gates is an evangelist of GMO foods and believes rich countries should switch over to 100 percent synthetic meat, for example.
The pandemic presented a golden opportunity to expand this power and influence. National governments were woefully unprepared at the outset of the pandemic and scrambled to mount a response. This meant there was little effort on the part of these governments to halt the spread of the virus overseas in low-income countries. This is where the Gates Foundation and its allied organizations stepped in. As the report notes,
Health advocates have consistently raised concerns about [the Gates-backed NGOs] lack of transparency in their pandemic efforts. As the four organizations grow their endowments and strengthen their connections to powerful Western countries, the sphere of influence in global health has grown smaller as other civil-society groups and global health groups struggle to gain similar footing.
Through the pandemic, these organizations’ leaders cultivated access to the highest echelons of power, spending $8.3 million to lobby US and European lawmakers for more resources. The strategy paid off: the COVID relief package passed by Congress late in 2020 included a $4 billion commitment to Gavi. This power and influence put these four organizations in the driver’s seat of WHO efforts to distribute COVID tests and treatments. The initiative promised to deliver 500 million tests to low-and-middle income countries by the middle of 2021; by June 2021, only 84 million tests had been procured, just 16 percent of its target. They similarly fell short on delivering treatments to developing countries. Similarly, they had a goal of delivering 245 million treatments to low- and middle-income countries by 2021 but later changed the target to 100 million new treatments by the end of 2021. By June 2021, the therapeutics team had allocated only about 1.8 million treatments.
Perhaps most egregiously, these organizations, led by the Gates Foundation, supported massive profits for Big Pharma. The Gates Foundation initially advocated against an intellectual property waiver for the COVID vaccine, which many falsely believed would be a silver bullet for COVID. This prevented low-and-middle income countries from developing generic versions of the vaccine and guaranteed massive profits for Big Pharma while thwarting wider access to the vaccines. (The Gates Foundation eventually reversed this position, but it was too little too late.) Remember that COVID vaccines were developed with substantial taxpayer investment through Operation Warp Speed. The experimental mRNA technology used in most COVID vaccines is the result of federally funded basic research conducted at the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. But, as is often the case, Big Pharma was given a monopoly over this experimental technology, and thanks to scare tactics and coercion leading billions of people around the world to get the COVID vaccine, they’ve made a mint: Pfizer recorded $7.8 billion in revenue in 2021 from its COVID vaccine.
ANH has written before about our many concerns regarding the adverse health effects that can result as a result of these shots, particularly when there appear to be effective alternatives to treating and preventing COVID. If even a fraction of the money that had been spent on developing and distributing vaccines had gone into researching or informing the public about common-sense strategies like nasal hygiene, vitamin D status, or the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, much suffering could have been avoided. And that’s the point. When decisions are democratic, lots of voices and approaches can be discussed, negotiated, and melded together. Instead, a small circle of decision-makers with a narrow-minded focus on one approach—vaccines—can call the shots.
These are concerning developments for the next pandemic. These organizations clearly wield an incredible amount of power and influence, but they are not accountable to any democratic checks and balances. It is additionally concerning that this power and influence is wielded in a way that protects Big Pharma profits and intellectual property rights at the expense of equitable healthcare access.