Bill Gates denies long-running coronavirus conspiracy theories

There have been a number of coronavirus conspiracy theories about Bill Gates going around for months now. The billionaire philanthropist denied one of those conspiracy theories in an interview this week. He said he isn’t planning to use the coronavirus vaccine to implant microchips to track people.

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Persistent coronavirus conspiracy theories about Bill Gates

One of the most widespread conspiracy theories about the coronavirus vaccine suggests Bill Gates will use it to implant microchips that can track anyone who receives the vaccine. Although the theory has been debunked, a significant number of people say they believe it, according to a survey Yahoo News and YouGov conducted in May.

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The survey found that 28% of adults in the U.S. believe the conspiracy theory about Gates and the upcoming coronavirus vaccine. In the interview with CBS News, Gates said they need to "get the truth out there" and that he hopes the conspiracy theory will "die down as people get the facts."

The conspiracy theory stems from comments Gates made about requiring digital IDs to show that people have received the coronavirus vaccine. However, those digital IDs would not be able to track people like the conspiracy theory suggests.

Work on a coronavirus vaccine continues

In addition to addressing the coronavirus conspiracy theory, Bill Gates also talked about work on the COVID-19 vaccine. CNBC cited a poll conducted by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The poll indicates that only about 50% of Americans would get the COVID-19 vaccine if one becomes available. Of those who said they wouldn't get the vaccine, 70% are worried about safety.

However, Gates expects the Food and Drug Administration to be thorough when it comes to reviewing potential vaccines for safety even though there is pressure to release one as soon as possible. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $100 million to vaccine research and coronavirus treatments in February.

Then in June, the foundation promised to give another $1.6 billion to the Gavi vaccine alliance. Gates said they want to "make sure we don't have people dying just because they don't have access to the vaccine." He also said they will "get a good deal on the vaccine" and that the world also needs a good deal on it.

Additionally, he told CBS News that he expects the coronavirus vaccine to require two doses instead of only one. That will negatively impact efforts to vaccinate the world's population from COVID-19.

Melinda Gates said in May that researchers could find an effective vaccine by the end of the year "if we're lucky." Even if they find an effective vaccine in record time, the company that's making it must produce billions of doses for the general public.

The world is home to more than 7.6 billion people, and if each person requires two doses of the vaccine, it will be quite a while before most of the world's population is vaccinated against COVID-19.