Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates shrugged off baseless conspiracy theories about him being behind a plot to use vaccines to implant tracking microchips in people.
"I've never been involved any sort of microchip-type thing," he said, adding, "It's almost hard to deny this stuff because it's so stupid or strange."
Gates has for years sounded the alarm about the dangers of pandemics and urged world leaders to take stronger steps to prepare for one. He famously gave a TED Talk in 2015 that warned of the potentially staggering death toll of a worldwide pandemic.
Citing that talk and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's $300 million commitment to fight COVID-19 and develop a vaccine, some right-wing fringe groups and pundits began spreading misinformation online in January that Gates was somehow behind the virus' creation and wanted to profit from it.
"It is good to know which kids have had a measles vaccine and which have not," Gates said, adding that "there are needed systems" like health records to help healthcare workers identify who has been immunized — but that no microchips were involved whatsoever.
"Our foundation gets money to buy vaccines. That's why we saw the risk of a pandemic and spoke out," Business Insider cited him as saying.