FACT CHECK: Did Bill Gates Say This Quote About A ‘Digital Certificate’ For Vaccines On CNN?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said, “Only those with all the required vaccinations may travel, visit churches, participate in sports, and music events, get a job, etc.”

Verdict: False

There is no record of Gates making the statement.

Fact Check:

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Gates has been the target of a number of false claims. The Facebook post credits the Microsoft co-founder making a particular statement about digital vaccine certificates during a CNN interview.

“We need to develop a digital certificate that shows who has received all the vaccinations,” Gates allegedly said. “Only those with all the required vaccinations may travel, visit churches, participate in sports, and music events, get a job, etc.”

There is, however, no record of him making the remark in any CNN interview available on the outlet’s website. He does not appear to have included the statement in any posts on his blog or social media accounts. Check Your Fact also didn’t find any credible media reports corroborating the attribution, only a fact-checker debunking it.

Gates did appear on CNN’s coronavirus town hall July 23, and while he does talk about a vaccine for COVID-19, he makes no mention of a “digital certificate.” (RELATED: Did CNN Add Greta Thunberg To An Expert Panel About ‘What It’s Like Being Black In America’?)

“By the end of 2021, if people are willing to take the vaccine, we’ll be able to stop the transmission in the rich countries and maybe within nine months after that, in the world at large,” Gates said during the town hall.

Gates also addressed the numerous conspiracy theories and falsehoods related to him and the coronavirus, saying, “I hope it doesn’t create vaccine hesitancy. I hope the conspiracy stuff dies down.”

Check Your Fact found an instance of Gates mentioning digital certificates during a March 18 Reddit “Ask-Me-Anything” interactive interview. However, he only speculated that “eventually we will have some digital certificates” to track who has been tested or vaccinated for the new coronavirus. He does not mention churches, sports or music events.

“Supply chains for critical things need to be maintained. Countries are still figuring out what to keep running,” Gates said in response to a question about operating businesses while maintaining COVID-19 social distancing measures. “Eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently or when we have a vaccine who has received it.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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