Bill Gates, Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Prince William, and Leni Robredo have received their jabs, and they’re encouraging you to get yours, too.
In March 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic began sparking worldwide anxiety, The New York Times published an article titled “Need a Coronavirus Test? Being Rich and Famous Might Help.” The story by Megan Twohey, Steve Eder, and Marc Stein highlights how high-profile people have COVID tests at their disposal while US medical workers are left with a shortage.
For example, when the entire roster of NBA team Brooklyn Nets got tested, four players were positive. In response, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted his displeasure.
“We wish them a speedy recovery,” de Blasio wrote. “But an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested. Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.” Such cases of privileged access raise the issue of if wealthy people are skipping vaccine lines because they can.
But there are powerful people who are perfectly going through the system with everyone else. Here are four, despite their substantial financial and philanthropic contributions to the current local and global vaccine rollouts, patiently waited for their assigned jab allocations.
Last January, Gates received his COVID vaccine in Washington, months following outlandish theories surfacing online on his involvement in injecting radio-frequency identification (RFID) microchips in the vaccine that his foundation funded in developing. In Gates’ tweet, he says he feels great after taking the jab.
The billionaire philanthropist has played a significant role in eradicating Polio and has also been a critical component in the world’s recovery from COVID-19. In partnership with international service organization Rotary, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated approximately $3.7 billion to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
While for COVID vaccine rollouts, The Gates Foundation committed $70 million to global efforts to develop and distribute vaccines for low and middle-income countries. The foundation also provided an additional $50 million to COVAX, a platform that researches and advances vaccines.
Jaime Zobel de Ayala
Together with his wife, Bea, the Ayala Corporation chairman queued for his Covid vaccine in the private subdivision. Sans special treatment, the business tycoon is seen waiting for his jab while seated in North Forbes’ village basketball court.
Last January, the Ayala Group announced their acquisition of 450,000 doses of vaccines by United-Kingdom-based manufacturer AstraZeneca. Fernando Zobel de Ayala, the Ayala Corporation’s chief executive officer and Jaime’s son, said during a Malacanang press briefing that the vaccines worth P120 million would be used in the private sector and donated to the government.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
The British Prince who contracted Covid last April received the vaccine against the virus last week. In the official Instagram account of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William thanks all the essential workers managing vaccine rollouts.
During an interview with Good Morning America, William and his wife, Kate Middleton, urged the public to get jabs against COVID. “Catherine and I are not medical experts by any means, but if it’s any consolation, we can wholeheartedly support having vaccinations. It’s really, really important,” William says.
He then warns the public about the rumors and misinformation circulating on social media about the virus. “We have to be careful who we believe and where we get our information from, especially for those who are clinically vulnerable,” the royal says. “It’s so important that vaccinations get done.”
The Philippine Vice president got her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine last Wednesday in Quezon City. In an Instagram post, Robredo shares that making a vaccine appointment was seamless, and she gives thanks to the vaccine center staff for the seamless procedure.
During the surge of Covid cases this year, Robredo lobbied for systematic plans to address the virus’s impact. Last March, she started a mobile antigen testing center that’s free of charge. The “Swab Cab” visits high-risk virus areas with Malabon as its pilot city.
In addition, last month, the Office of the Vice President launched free teleconsultation services for outpatient cases. Bayanihan E-Konsulta aims to help people suffering from various symptoms to receive health care without adding to hospital congestion.
Banner photo from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Official Instagram Page