WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- During his CBS News interview on Wednesday, Bill Gates belied the conspiracy theories that suggest he would implant microchips in the COVID-19 vaccine to track people.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced in February that it will donate $100 million to vaccine development and treatment efforts. It pledged another $1.6 billion to the Gavi vaccine alliance in June.
- Research and development for COVID-19 treatment are still ongoing as the Food and Drug Administration awaits to approve a vaccine.
Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates rejected the conspiracy theories on Wednesday, claiming that he wanted to use the COVID-19 vaccine to implant tracking devices in people.
Gates addressed a Yahoo News/YouGov survey poll that showed 28 percent of American adults were convinced by a disproven conspiracy theory that he would implant microchips in billions of people to track their activities through the vaccine.
“We need to get the truth out there,” Gates said during his interview with CBS News. “I hope it’ll die down as people get the facts,” he said.
When the World Health Organization (WHO) requested $675 million assistance to mitigate the spread of the virus outbreak, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said in February that it would donate $100 million to vaccine development and treatment efforts. Last month, Gates’ foundation pledged another $1.6 billion to the Gavi vaccine alliance, an organization that centered on immunizing children against the pandemic.
“We want to make sure we don’t have people dying just because they don’t have access to the vaccine… We will get a good deal on the vaccine, and we need the world to get a good deal on that. Many of the companies have committed themselves to that,” Gates said on Wednesday.
Gates also tackled vaccine safety. Based on the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, only about 50 percent of Americans would take an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Among those people, the poll showed, seven out of 10 said they are concerned about safety.
Gates said that he expects the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to do its mandate accordingly amid mounting pressure to release an approved treatment the soonest possible time.
Once a vaccine is out, Gates said that it would likely require two doses which could potentially restrain its availability to people.
Bill Gates’ wife, Melinda, said in May that the world would be “lucky” if health experts and scientists could discover a vaccine by the end of 2020. “We have never, never as a globe made a vaccine of this type before nor of this scale before ever. So this is not a quick nor swift process,” she said.
Over 100 vaccines are currently being developed as the FDA awaits to approve at least one. About 23 vaccines were already in a clinical trial stage, the WHO said.
Globally, the novel coronavirus has infected almost 15 million people with over 617,415 fatalities, based on monitoring by John Hopkins University.