FACT CHECK: Did Bill Gates Admit To Profiting $200 Billion From Vaccines?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates confessing to making $200 billion from vaccinations during an appearance on CNBC TV.

Verdict: False

The video has been deceptively edited to suggest Gates admitted to making a profit off of vaccines. He was actually speaking about the economic benefits of global vaccination efforts.

Fact Check:

Gates and his wife chair the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which, among other things, has committed billions of dollars to the research, development and delivery of vaccines. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show ‘Center For Global Human Population Reduction’ Sign At Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation Headquarters)

A Facebook user recently shared a YouTube video, titled “Bill Gates admits on CNBC TV he’s making 200 BILLION US$ on his Vaccinations,” that shows a 25-second clip from a January 2019 interview Gates did with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

In response to a question about the return on his foundation’s $10 billion investment in vaccines, Gates appears to say, “Over a twenty-to-one return, so if you just looked at the economic benefits that’s a pretty strong number compared to anything else.”

“Take the numbers that you ran through for if you had put that money into an S&P 500 and reinvested the dividends, you come up with something like $17 billion, but you think it’s $200 billion,” CNBC’s Becky Quick then says to Gates in the video.

It abruptly ends after Gates responds, “Here, yeah.”

The Daily Caller reviewed the interview in its entirety and found the YouTube clip has been deceptively edited. Parts of the interview appear to have spliced together, removing key context surrounding Gates’ comments. At no point does he claim to have made $200 billion in profits from his foundation’s vaccination efforts.

“It’s been $100 billion overall that the world’s put in, our foundation is a bit more than $10 billion, and we feel there’s been over a 20-to-one return,” Gates actually said. “So if you just look at the economic benefits that’s a pretty strong number compared to anything else. The human benefit in millions of lives saved.”

The $200 billion-figure Quick mentions actually comes from the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a think tank that analyses comparative strategies in fighting poverty. Gates used the Copenhagen Consensus Center’s estimate in a January 2019 Wall Street Journal op-ed to compare the impact of his foundation’s $10 billion investment to the hypothetical impact on developing countries had he instead invested in other sectors, such as energy or infrastructure.

“By investing in global health institutions, however, we exceed all those returns: The $10 billion that we gave to help provide vaccines, drugs, bed nets and other supplies in developing countries created an estimated $200 billion in social and economic benefits,” Gates wrote.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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