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Bill Gates: with vaccine acceptance U.S. will be back to normal by fall

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Bill Gates, author of ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster’, joins Yahoo Finance's Andy Serwer to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccine progress around the world.

Video Transcript

ANDY SERWER: Last time we talked, we were talking only about COVID at that point. And you said we would be completely back to normal until this coming fall. Does that still feel right to you? And if so, when do you think we'll be completely back, maybe more specifically?

BILL GATES: Well, the good news, since we last talked, is the progress in the vaccines. And although, in a few cases, the manufacturing volumes have been hard to ramp up, overall, most of the vaccine constructs work well. The only negative news since then is the rise of the variants. And The Gates Foundation funded all these trials in South Africa.

We did that not because we knew in advance some variant would show up during those trials, but we wanted safety data in Africa to convince Africans that they should consider taking the vaccine. And we wanted a population of people living with HIV to see how the vaccine worked there. Now, it turned out that as we ran that trial, we could see the variant coming in, and we saw that two of the three vaccines we were testing-- Novavax and Johnson & Johnson-- retained a lot of strength.

And so now, the discussion about, do you need a third dose? OK, if so, is it a different vaccine than the your first two? Do we need to tune the vaccine? Our vaccine team is working with the government now to figure out that plan.

So that is-- you know, it's going to extend things a bit and, you know, cause us to be careful in our behavior. But overall, I'd still say, by the fall, the US, particularly if we can get the message out to encourage wide acceptance of the vaccine, will avoid a fall wave, which will be, you know, fantastic. Now, we need to help the whole world, and that's where the Gates Foundation funding of these Indian factories and getting huge capacity up so the disease isn't coming back to the US, so we have a world economy that's going full speed that creates jobs here and just to save lives.

ANDY SERWER: Bill, forgive me if you did this on national television last week, but have you gotten vaccinated?

BILL GATES: I did. I'm very lucky. It's the first time I've been pleased to be such an old man at 65. So I just made the cutoff. So last Friday, I had my second dose of Moderna, and I was lucky to have very modest side effects.