Bill Gates said it's 'tragic' if a conspiracy theory about him putting tracking microchips in COVID-19 vaccines is driving people to not get vaccinated
Bill Gates said it's tragic when conspiracy theories stop people from getting COVID-19 vaccines.
One discredited theory is that Gates uses vaccines to microchip people for location tracking.
Gates called the conspiracy theory ridiculous and bizarre.
Bill Gates said it would be "tragic" if conspiracy theories about microchipping COVID-19 vaccines prevent people from getting vaccinated.
"The one about tracking people, I don't know why they think I'm interested in knowing people's locations - I still have to laugh about that - but if it puts people off getting vaccinated then it will It's tragic," Gates said in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Friday.
Gates told Cooper that conspiracy theories are "fun to click on" and that it might be easier for people to believe "simple explanations," like claims that the vaccines were only developed for profit, than the complicated science behind the to understand rapid development of COVID -19 vaccines.
Conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccinationists continue to spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. In the early days of their development, unsubstantiated claims about the vaccines, including that Gates will use them to implant people with location-tracking microchips, led to intense hesitation about the vaccine among many Americans.
Gates previously said the claims are so bizarre they're almost ridiculous.
"It's almost hard to deny this 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 aren't clear, the theory may have developed from information taken out of context, including a video that went viral early in the pandemic and starring Jay Walker , CEO of Syringe manufacturer Apiject, discussed a possible optional barcode-like label for the vaccine.
The vaccine manufacturers did not require 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 track when injections are used".
On Friday, he told Cooper that theories that he was just trying to benefit from the vaccine were also inaccurate.
“We have spent billions on vaccines and saved millions of lives. If you just reverse that and say no, we're trying to make money off vaccines, you know, not trying to save lives, that's a popular conspiracy theory. " he said.
While immunization hesitancy in the US has decreased, Gates said the US "still has a lower immunization coverage rate than many other countries," and the country needs to find ways to reach people who are still skeptical.
"Are you open-minded? Because it's for their benefit and for the people around them, I'm surprised the US is so tough and, you know, even a little bit political," Gates said.
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