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Bill Gates: ‘AstraZeneca vaccine will be safe by February’

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Microsoft chairman Bill Gates gestures during a news conference at the 18th World Aids Conference in Vienna July 19, 2010.   REUTERS/Herwig Prammer  (AUSTRIA - Tags: BUSINESS)
Bill Gates: ‘AstraZeneca vaccine will be safe by February’. Source: Getty

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has revealed he believes “almost all” of the Covid-19 vaccines will work well, and be ready by February 2021.

Gates told CNN he believes all vaccines, including the AstraZeneca vaccine which will be distributed to Australians within the next 12 months if approved by regulators, will be effective.

"I'm optimistic that by February, it's very likely they'll all prove very efficacious and safe," he said.

AstraZeneca recently revealed that late-stage trials of its Covid-19 vaccines were “highly effective” in preventing disease.

Where trial participants were given a half dose, followed by a full dose of the vaccine, the vaccine proved to be around 90 per cent effective.

Vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna have already revealed their vaccines were 95 per cent effective in trials.

International travel hinges on vaccine

Qantas chief Alan Joyce revealed on Monday that all Aussies could be travelling back and forth to New Zealand “in the early New Year”.

However, more bubbles could be established as a vaccine is established and distributed.

“We’ve always planned that from July next year we’ll start reactivating our long haul international aircraft, and get a lot of our people back to work, and that still looks like the plan,” he said.

“The news about the vaccines are very positive, which I think is great for that border opening plan.”

But Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said it all hinges on the effectiveness of the vaccine.

"Then of course the manufacturing rollout, distribution, uptake, all the other factors that come into how it is that a vaccine could change the way we look at things around this pandemic,” he said.

When will we return to pre-Covid normal?

Gates revealed in the first episode of his new podcast, Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions, that even if Covid-19 case numbers reduce, as long as the virus remains in the world, we probably won’t see normality again.

“If we have the disease elsewhere in the world, it's not clear to me we can go back and do big sports events, or open up the bars, because you know, like Australia or South Korea, the risk of reinfection will be looming out there,” Gates said.

“And so, as long as it's in the world, I'm not sure we'll be completely back to normal.”

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