LONDON - Rich countries could be back to close to normal by late 2021 if a COVID-19 vaccine works, is ready soon and distributed properly at scale, billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates said on Tuesday.
"By late next year you can have things going back pretty close to normal - that's the best case," Gates, 64, told The Wall Street Journal CEO Council.
"We still don't know whether these vaccines will succeed," Gates said. "Now the capacity will take time to ramp up. And so the allocation within the US, and between the US and other countries will be a very top point of contention."
The vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca/Oxford University are two of the leading candidates in the race for the first jab to get regulatory approval in the West to prevent COVID-19.
Gates added that in the United States people should be thinking about ways to reduce hesitancy about having a COVID-19 vaccine when one is ready.
Asked about Russian and Chinese vaccines, he said the Western companies were further ahead on Phase III studies.
"The one Russian construct and six of the Chinese constructs are perfectly valid constructs actually with some similarities to what the Western companies are doing, but the Western companies are further ahead on doing these phase three studies," Gates said.