Bill Gates made a dry joke about tracking people using COVID vaccines while giving a talk on pandemic prevention.
The billionaire, co-founder and former CEO of tech giant Microsoft, has been a global health advocate for years, warning of impending pandemics years before COVID emerged and committing billions in funding to vaccine development.
However, since 2020, Gates has been at the center of some COVID conspiracy theories, including one that claims vaccination against the virus is actually an excuse to implant tracking microchips into people.
The theory became so widespread that, according to a May 2020 YouGov poll, nearly 45% of people surveyed in the US who identified as Republicans said they believe “Bill Gates wants to use a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 to implant microchips in people”. that would be used to track people with a digital ID.
Just under 20 percent of Democrats and about 24 percent of independents said they believed the statement.
Gates has always said that the theory was false. He took aim at the theories again in a TED talk last week.
During the talk, Gates discussed strategies to combat future pandemics and proposed a Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization (GERM) team that would work specifically to spot potential disease outbreaks, comparing them to firefighters.
At the end, TED official Helen Walters asked Gates how he deals with criticism from vaccine skeptics.
“Well, it’s a little weird,” he said, to laughter from the crowd. “Now our foundation, the Gates Foundation, is very involved in vaccines, inventing new vaccines, funding vaccines, and we’re very proud that through joint efforts like GAVI, that has saved tens of millions of lives. .
“So it’s kind of ironic that someone would turn around and say no, we’re using vaccines to kill people or to make money or, you know, we started the pandemic… even some weird stuff like I somehow want to track the location of individuals because I’m deeply anxious to know where everyone is. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with that information.”
Gates added that he hoped people would become “more rational” about vaccines as the pandemic subsides.
It’s not the first time this year that Gates has dismissed such conspiracy theories. In January, during a Twitter interview with Devi Sridhar, chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, Gates said: “People like you and me and [Anthony] Fauci has been the subject of much misinformation. He didn’t expect that. Some things like me putting chips in the arms don’t make sense to me, why would I want to do that?