KEY POINTS

  • Bill Gates said multiple doses of vaccine may be needed for protection against COVID-19
  • This would require 7 billion vaccinations worldwide
  • None of the vaccines being developed now appear to work with a single dose

People may need multiple doses of coronavirus vaccine to get adequate protection from the deadly bug.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates made the claim in an interview with CBS Evening News on Wednesday, July 22. That scenario could require the application of over 7 billion vaccinations worldwide.

"None of the vaccines at this point appear like they'll work with a single dose" as scientists had hoped for at the outset, the billionaire philanthropist said.

Gates, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has donated around $300 million to the global effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic. He told "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell that deploying a vaccine requires a collective and global action.

He added that if the main objective is to block all virus transmissions, then there is a need to have 70% to 80% coverage globally. "So it's unbelievably big numbers," Gates said.

Since 2015, Gates has repeatedly warned about a global pandemic. During a TED talk in April of 2015, he remarked that if anything kills more than 10 million people in the next couple of decades, it is likely to be a highly infectious disease and not an armed conflict. In February of 2017, during the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Gates again warned about a "fast-moving airborne pathogen" that can kill over 30 million people within a year.

In his interview with CBS News, he admitted there are lots of uncertainties about the efficacy of potential coronavirus vaccines. He did emphasize, however, that it is a solution "that will improve" in time.

The COVID-19 vaccine that Moderna is developing requires two doses one month apart. The company will take a key step on the vaccine's development, which involves 30,000 test subjects, around July 27 to check if the shots are potent enough to protect people.

Gates said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is there to stop any release of an unsafe vaccine to the market.  "The FDA is the gold standard of regulators, and their current guidance on this, if they stick with that, is very very appropriate," he told CBS Evening News.