The Gates Foundation reported Monday that the coronavirus pandemic has erased 25 years of global vaccination progress.
“This year is different — it’s unique,” Bill Gates told reporters ahead of the release of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers 2020 report. “The COVID-19 pandemic has not only stopped progress, it’s pushed it backwards.”
The foundation’s report tracks global progress in meeting development goals, such as reducing poverty and increasing access to healthcare.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the Gates Foundation’s data partner, showed that vaccine coverage has dropped to levels that haven’t been seen since the 1990s.
“Every single one of the goals was moving in the right direction,” Gates said. “The pandemic has, in almost every dimension, made inequity worse.”
In addition to reversing immunization efforts, the report showed the pandemic is widening the gap between the rich and the poor in nearly every country in a way that hasn’t been seen in decades. The authors of the report found that the pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on women, racial and ethnic minority communities, and people living in extreme poverty.