Trust Index: Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain a tracking device?

Posts falsely claim that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips, tracking devices

SAN ANTONIO – As the COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out across the nation, experts within the San Antonio medical community are warning about the prevalence of misinformation regarding them. According to local medical experts, the claims- which are predominately found on social media- can cause confusion as individuals make decisions on whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recently, an unfounded social media theory gained traction online that claims that there are microchips and tracking devices in the COVID-19 vaccine.

The KSAT Trust Index team took a closer look at this claim and determined that it’s not true.

The basis for this theory stems from false claims that accuse Microsoft founder Bill Gates of implanting microchips in the vaccine which are said to dissolve under the skin and leave “quantum dots” that are used to track people.

Vaccine myth tweet (Twitter)

Like many conspiracy theories, this one starts with a well-known individual. Gates has previously donated millions of dollars to vaccine development. In addition to the tweet shown above, there are online articles and other social media posts claiming Gates will use microchip implants to track people, something that Gates has publicly rejected.

Several videos posted online have also been spliced and stitched together appearing to show Gates himself confirming the trackers but it’s been found that these videos have been edited.

How did this conspiracy theory gain traction? Dr. Larry Schlesinger, President and CEO of Texas Biomedical Research Institute, recently told KSAT that misinformation regarding the vaccine was problematic especially in the age of social media. “I’ve been through several of these outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics in my career and I say that what’s distinguishing this one from the others is the rapid pace of the news cycle, combined with social media just amplifying the opportunities for disinformation.”

With so much misinformation on the internet, KSAT took this question to our local experts, asking them during a recent town hall if the COVID-19 vaccines carry any type of tracking device inside them.

KSAT’s Isis Romero spoke with local experts including Ruth Berggren with UT Health who said “in terms of tracking who has had the vaccine, we have these other right? We have our registration process and paperwork and to test someone’s blood to see if they’re immune.”

“I am not aware and I would be extremely surprised and appalled if there was any kind of chip in the vaccine,” said Rev. Dr. Kenneth Kemp, a local pulmonologist. “The government has done some nefarious stuff in the past, I’ll be the first to admit that, but in this case, I don’t think that that’s at all operative or even possible.”

Another Trust Index report is expected Wednesday, January 13, which will address concerns regarding the vaccine and fetal tissue.

Trust Index is an initiative by KSAT and Graham Media Group to combat misinformation campaigns and verify claims or other online content that could be false or misleading. The goal is to reinforce journalism ethics, give our readers and viewers the facts and an avenue to alert our newsroom to potentially fake or harmful information. For more information click here.

The entire town hall video can be seen below:

Other Trust Index reports:

About the Author

Isis Romero anchors the Nightbeat and creates long-form reporting series for KSAT. She joined the KSAT 12 news team in 2010.

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