ByteDance-owned TikTok and Microsoft’s Bill Gates have pledged $10 million each to support GAVI’s efforts to deploy COVID-19 vaccines to Africa. GAVI is a private global health partnership that works to improve access to vaccines for people in low-income countries. The alliance, which was founded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (alongside the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF and others) will use the funding to help with the distribution of vaccines for the coronavirus in Africa immediately after they are developed and licensed for use.
Seth Berkley, a chef executive at GAVI believes the new donation help curb “a potentially catastrophic impact on immunisation programs across the developing world”. He also expressed his excitement about the sheer number of potential COVID-19 vaccines in the early stages of development around the world, which he said would slim down to a smaller number as some progressed and some failed.
There are 76 coronavirus vaccines according to the WHO’s records, of which five are already undergoing clinical evaluation. Experts say it could take a year for one to be ready for public use. When it does happen, donations make it easier for poorer countries to get access to them.
Tiktok has been gaining popularity among young Africans. Since 2018, it has been investing in the continent, making key local hires, signing up creator talent, and throwing resources behind mobile marketing initiatives. The social network is already the third-ranked social app in Nigeria, and sixth in Kenya – based on Android’s Google Play store rankings.