- Bill Gates said it’s tragic that conspiracy theories keep people from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
- A discredited theory claims that Gates uses vaccines to implant tracking microchips in people.
- Gates called the conspiracy theory laughable and bizarre.
Bill Gates said it was “tragic” if conspiracy theories that he was putting microchips in COVID-19 vaccines were stopping people from getting vaccinated.
“The one about tracking people, I don’t know why they think I’m interested in knowing people’s locations – that one I still have to laugh about – but if it stops people from getting vaccinated, then it’s is tragic,” Gates said. in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday.
Gates told Cooper that Cooper’s conspiracy theories are ‘fun to click’ and that it may be easier for people to believe ‘simple explanations’, such as the claim that vaccines weren’t created only for profit than to understand the complicated science behind the rapid development of COVID -19 vaccines.
Conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccineers continue to spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. Early in their development, unsubstantiated claims about vaccines, including that Gates would use them to implant tracking microchips in people, sparked fierce vaccine hesitation among many Americans.
Gates has previously said the claims are so bizarre they’re almost laughable.
“It’s almost hard to deny that stuff because it’s so stupid or weird that even repeating it gives it credibility,” Gates said in 2020.
Insider’s Andrea Michaelson reported that while the exact origins of this myth are unclear, the theory could have evolved from information taken out of context, including a video that went viral early in the pandemic where Jay Walker , the executive chairman of syringe maker Apiject, discussed a possible optional barcode-style label for the vaccine.
The vaccine manufacturers did not request the use of this label, which would have been placed on the outside of the syringe and not injected into the patient. It would have been used to “distinguish the real vaccine from counterfeit or expired doses, and to track when the injections are used”.
On Friday, he told Cooper that theories that he is only trying to profit from the vaccine are also inaccurate.
“We’ve given billions for vaccines and saved millions of lives. If you just reverse that and say no, we’re trying to make money from vaccines, you know, we’re not trying to save lives, it’s a popular conspiracy theory,” he said.
While vaccine hesitancy has been reduced in the US, Gates said the US “still has a lower full vaccination rate than many other countries” and the country needs to find ways to reach people who are still skeptical.
“Are they open-minded? Because it’s in their interest and in the interests of the people around them, so I’m surprised that the United States has been so difficult and, you know, even somewhat political,” Gates said.