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No, Bill Gates is not practising population control through vaccines – video combines two speeches out of context

IN SHORT: We’ve seen plenty of misinformation and conspiracy theories about billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, particularly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is yet another one – that vaccines are a ploy by Gates to control the size of the global population.

Disclaimer: Funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made up 26% of Africa Check’s income in 2021.

Billionaire co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates has said “If we do a really great job on new vaccines and health care, we could lower the population 10-15%”. 

At least, that’s according to a tweet posted by “Dr. Anastasia Maria Loupis”, who describes herself as “½ Viking, ½ Philosopher, Doctor of Medicine (MD)” and is, according to her Twitter bio, based in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

The Twitter account has more than 305,800 followers and the video posted with this quote has tens of thousands of likes and retweets.

The 41-second video shows two clips of Gates, cut together, with some of it edited so it is slowed down and replayed at the end of the video. 

The first part of the video shows a clip of an interview with Gates, where he speaks about vaccines: “And we’re taking things that are genetically modified organisms and we’re injecting them in little kids’ arms, we just shoot them right into the vein.”

The video then cuts to a black screen with white text that reads “Brought to you by the same guy who said this in 2011”.

In the second clip, Gates is speaking at a conference and says: “First we’ve got population, the world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 per cent.”

Together with the caption quoting Gates – “If we do a really great job on new vaccines and healthcare, we could lower the population 10-15%” – the tweet insinuates that Gates is trying to lower the size of the population through the use of vaccines.

The same claim has been doing the rounds on Facebook in South Africa. Africa Check has previously debunked similar claims about vaccination and population control, many of them falsely linked to Gates.

But the videos have been taken out of context – let’s break down the facts.


First clip on the endorsement of genetically modified organism

The first clip in the video posted on social media was taken from a broadcast interview with the pan-European media network Euractiv in 2015. Bill and then-wife Melinda Gates were speaking about their endorsement of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops.

GMOs are animals, plants or microbes (tiny organisms) whose DNA has been altered with the use of genetic engineering techniques.

In the interview, Bill and Melinda Gates were expressing their support for GMOs, saying they can be used to grow crops that are resistant to disease and drought. 

Bill Gates then said that medicines are the strongest analogy to use when speaking about GMOs, in response to the worry of potential side effects.

He said: “The strongest analogy is to medicines, you know, is there something to worry about with medicines, some of them [might] have side effects, do we need safety testing? I mean, we’re taking things that are genetically modified organisms and we’re injecting them in little kids’ arms, we just shoot them right into the vein. So yeah, maybe we should have a safety system where we do trials and test things out.”

Gates was arguing that trials to ensure the safety of medicines are undertaken before drugs are released to the public, and the same logic should be applied to GMOs.

The clip was taken out of context, without the mention of GMOs, in the video circulating on social media.

Second clip from 2010 TED Talk on world’s carbon emissions and population growth

The origin of the second clip in the video doing the rounds on social media is a TED Talk with Bill Gates, in 2010 – not, in fact, 2011, as claimed in the video.

TED, initially an acronym for technology, entertainment and design, is a US-Canadian non-profit media organisation that, among other projects, posts informative speeches from international conferences online for free distribution.

Here Gates spoke about reducing the world’s carbon emissions to zero and he mentioned that population growth was one factor pushing carbon dioxide emissions to an unsustainable level.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can be both natural and man-made. These emissions form part of the atmosphere’s greenhouse gases. 

However, through the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil, the concentration of atmospheric CO2 increases, contributing to global warming.

Gates mentions vaccines in context of other health measures to lower carbon emissions

The second clip in the video doing the rounds on social media is accurate, in the sense that Gates’s words have not been changed, but he was not suggesting that vaccines should be used to kill off part of the global population.

Gates was explaining that improving public health and using vaccines can reduce unsustainable population growth in the future, by targeting poverty, unrest and contraception, or birth control, therefore lowering carbon emissions.

Gates has often spoken publicly about the potential benefits of slowing population growth through improved healthcare. The Gates Foundation invests in family planning to help support reproductive health and rights in developing countries.

Suggesting that Bill Gates has said he wants to reduce the global population through the use of vaccines is inaccurate. The video doing the rounds on social media combines two videos, taken out of context, to make this false claim.

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