The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given Micron Biomedical a $23.6 million grant to fund the mass production of needle-free measles and rubella vaccine. The new type of vaccine is administered through a stamp-sized patch containing about 100 “microscopic cones” that may also be called “microneedles.” These microneedles can penetrate the skin but are more than 50 times smaller than an inch. The feeling of the patch vaccine has been compared to the texture of a cat’s tongue. Other descriptions of the texture have made comparisons to Velcro.

The vaccine is only intended for sale in “low- and middle-income markets, given the lack of the mumps component required to commercialize in other regions,” Micron CEO Steven Damon said. The purported benefits of microneedle vaccine patches are that storage and transportation are easier. The goal is self-administration. Studies have been done with patients self-administering the patches. This would purportedly allow the delivery of these patches to areas experiencing higher rates of measles and rubella.

Bill Gates has talked about moving toward patch vaccines instead of syringes for multiple reasons. The simplicity of the application could allow the vaccine to be mailed to patients. No appointments would be necessary and vaccine uptake would increase under this system. It would also overcome vaccine hesitancy for people afraid of needles. It would decrease waste because these vaccines would have a longer shelf life without requiring refrigeration.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also helped fund an MIT study involving “near-infrared quantum dots delivered to the skin by microneedle patches” to “record vaccination.” The foundation provides millions of dollars in grants to MIT to do research on vaccines for poor countries in Africa and globally. The infrared quantum dots study allows a smartphone to check to see a person’s vaccine history. The study indicates safety and toxicity concerns but doesn’t elaborate on the details. Instead, it states that safety testing in humans needs to be done.

Utilizing smartphones that check vaccine status is useful because poor countries don’t keep good record systems. While this is a good explanation, some concern must be given to the potential future use of this technology as a built-in vaccine passport. After the COVID-19 vaccination program, music events and other venues started requiring vaccine passports, which could sometimes be faked by individuals who were not vaccinated against COVID-19. This new technology could be utilized in future pandemics to determine who can enter certain establishments. With the recent revelations regarding “Disease X” and the next expected pandemic, this is cause for concern.

One report dives into the human rights violations of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in India and Africa testing experimental vaccines. A South African news article stated, “We are guinea pigs for the drug makers.” The report notes that the foundation works with some of the poorest and most uneducated people. This population is unable to understand what they are signing. Some of the signatures of the study participants weren’t even collected. This was deemed a human rights violation by not following informed consent laws.

The foundation spent $150 million to fund malaria trials in multiple African countries. Twenty thousand individuals, including young children, were involved. There were 151 deaths in the trials. There were also reports of paralysis and seizures in 1,048 of 5,949 children in the 5 to 17-month age group. This trial and the Meningitis study that had reported informed consent violations were considered successes by the pharma companies.

These philanthropic studies and trials funded by Bill Gates and his foundation offer significant financial reward to him personally. According to a CNBC report, Bill Gates got a 20 to 1 return on his global public health philanthropy projects. He turned a $10 billion investment into $200 billion.

The intent of the new vaccine patch is stated to help vaccine uptake which will reduce the impact of measles and rubella. Trials in poor African countries are not undertaken with the same accountability expected of western countries like the U.S. Furthermore, the financial benefit Bill Gates has demonstrated from funding these projects cannot be ignored.

Bill Gates and his foundation have a history of profiting from global health trials, studies, and distribution. They can save money by running these trials in poor countries with lax regulations and virtually no accountability for breaking informed consent protocols. With the desire to test new technologies such as patch vaccines and infrared vaccine recording systems, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation thinks Africa is a good place to do this research.

While it has been stated that this particular patch vaccine is intended to be distributed only to poor and middle-income countries, the CEOs of Micron Biomedical and Bill Gates have both expressed a desire to expand that market. The CEO is not shy about wanting to make more money from his company’s products. Meanwhile, Gates has talked about the benefits of patches to increase vaccine uptake. While most of the vaccine hesitancy has to do with the ingredients of the injectable pharmaceutical agent, the patch vaccine would be more accessible to the small number of people who are afraid of needles.


Steven Middendorp

Steven Middendorp is an investigative journalist, musician, and teacher. He has been a freelance writer and journalist for over 20 years. More recently, he has focused on issues dealing with corruption and negligence in the judicial system. He is a homesteading hobby farmer who encourages people to grow their own food, eat locally, and care for the land that provides sustenance to the community.

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