Bill Gates announced on Friday on CNN that it is “tragic” if conspiracy theories regarding him are keeping people from getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Addressing theories about his involvement in vaccine production, Gates stated, “The one about tracking people, I don’t know why they think I’m interested in knowing people’s locations — that one I still have to laugh at — but if it’s holding people back from getting vaccinated, then that’s tragic.” [tweet_embed] May 17, 2022[/tweet_embed] Gates further touched on a theory that his backing of vaccine research is solely for the purpose of gaining profit. “You know, we’ve given billions for vaccines and saved millions of lives. If you just kind of invert that and say no, we’re trying to make money from vaccines, you know, not trying to save lives, that’s a popular conspiracy theory,” he stated. Gates announced that conspiracy theories are more “fun to click on” online than factual information and that “simple explanations” are more attractive to people than science that is not widely understood. He stated that many conspiracy theorists assume that “rather than this complex biology, maybe there’s just some bad person behind this.” [tweet_embed] May 17, 2022[/tweet_embed] Gates further addressed vaccine hesitancy and methods to increase vaccination rates across the U.S. Insider's Andrea Michaelson reported that while the exact origins of this myth aren't clear, the theory could have evolved from information taken out of context, including a video that went viral at the start of the pandemic where Jay Walker, the executive chairman of syringe maker Apiject, discussed a possible optional barcode-like label for the vaccine. Vaccine-makers did not request the use of this label, which would have been placed on the outside of the syringe and not injected into the patient. It would have been used to "distinguish the real vaccine from counterfeit or expired doses, and to track when injections are used." “Well, the hesitancy did go down somewhat, you know, initially it was like at 60 percent of the population, but as they saw their friends getting vaccinated and very rare side effects, as they saw their friends being protected and the people with severe disease were overwhelmingly the unvaccinated, most people came around,” announced Gates. [tweet_embed] May 17, 2022[/tweet_embed] He went on: “Now the U.S. still has a lower full vaccination rate than many other countries, so we still need to figure out: Who do those people trust? Are they open-minded? Because it’s to their benefit and to the people around them, so I’m surprised that in the U.S., it’s been this tough, and, you know, even somewhat a political thing.” Gates encouraged innovation and creativity in discovering ways to incentivize unvaccinated Americans to get immunized against COVID-19. “But, you know, we need to be creative at how we get people to see it, you know, and hear about people they know that suffered from not fully protecting themselves,” stated Gates.