Gates, whose foundation has donated millions to coronavirus vaccine and treatment research, addressed a poll from Yahoo News/YouGov survey that found 28% of U.S. adults believed a debunked conspiracy theory suggesting Gates planned to use a potential vaccine for Covid-19 to implant microchips in billions of people to monitor their movements.
"We need to get the truth out there," Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said during an interview on CBS News. "I hope it'll die down as people get the facts," he said, adding that he wants to bring the coronavirus pandemic to an end.
There are no FDA-approved drugs or vaccines for the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 15 million people worldwide and killed at least 617,415 in more than six months, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There are more than 100 vaccines under development, according to the World Health Organization, with 23 vaccines already in human trials.
In February, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said it was donating $100 million to vaccine research and treatment efforts for the coronavirus. It was announced as part of the WHO's request for $675 million in contributions to fight the spread of the virus. In June, the foundation pledged an additional $1.6 billion to the Gavi vaccine alliance, an organization focused on efforts to immunize children amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We want to make sure we don't have people dying just because they don't have access to the vaccine," Gates said Wednesday. "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 spoke on vaccine safety, saying he expects the Food and Drug Administration will do a good job of reviewing any potential vaccine despite the pressure to make one available to the public as soon as possible. Americans have concerns have a potential vaccine. According to a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only about half of Americans say they would get a coronavirus vaccine if scientists succeed in making one that works. Among Americans who say they wouldn't get vaccinated, 7 in 10 worry about safety, according to the poll.
Gates also said the potential vaccine will likely require two doses rather than one, potentially further limiting the number of people who can get vaccinated once a vaccine becomes available.
His wife, Melinda Gates, a billionaire philanthropist and co-chair of the foundation, said in May that scientists and health officials may find a vaccine that is effective in preventing Covid-19 by the end of this year "if we're lucky." Even if scientists do find a vaccine in record time, they would still need to make millions and eventually billions of doses of the vaccine for the general public, she said. There are more than 7.6 billion people in the world, and some of the vaccines under development require more than one dose, she said.
"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.