Bill Gates is fond of using his bully pulpit to talk about “miracles” and “magic.” Gates has featured one or both words in nearly all of his annual wrap-up letters for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017), most often in reference to the Gates Foundation’s outsized financial and ideological support for global vaccine programs. As Gates says, “In the same way that during my Microsoft career I talked about the magic of software, I now spend my time talking about the magic of vaccines.”
Gates’s words give us an immediate clue that he is engaging in his own brand of magical thinking—which social scientists define as “illogical causal reasoning.” How else to explain his simplistic endorsement of vaccines as a miraculous intervention with unmitigated benefits and no down side? The Gates Foundation’s global spreadsheet appears to have no room to tally the massive flood of vaccine injuries afflicting children worldwide, despite abundant evidence that this damage is standing the vaccine risk-benefit calculus on its head and turning childhood into an extended round of Russian roulette.
While Gates has rhapsodized that vaccines are a fantastic investment, the vaccine industry, in fact, is a primary beneficiary of Gates Foundation largesse. According to the German analysts, for example, the Gates Foundation’s support of the GAVI Alliance has incentivized manufacturers to increase production of specific vaccines. These incentives have resulted in payments of over $1 billion to Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Some reporters have described this arrangement as “a leg-up for pharmaceutical companies ‘seeking to expand into faster-growing, lower-income countries.’” However, as the German report notes, the non-governmental organization Doctors without Borders (MSF) has questioned the GAVI Alliance’s overall impact on vaccine affordability, stating that “the cost to fully immunize a child was 68 times more expensive in 2014 than it was in 2001.”