44% Republicans believe Bill Gates will use coronavirus vaccine to implant microchips and track people: Poll
For scientists and health experts, fighting and debunking conspiracy theories and myths surrounding the novel coronavirus has almost been as challenging as battling the Covid-19 pandemic itself. A new survey now reveals that 44% of Republicans believe that Bill Gates will use a mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign as a ploy to implant microchips in billions of people to monitor and track their movements with a digital identity, a theory that has no basis.
A majority of President Donald Trump's voters (58%), Republicans (57%) and Fox News viewers (65%) also believe in another conspiracy theory. That the Chinese scientists engineered coronavirus in a lab, from which it accidentally escaped, according to the Yahoo News/YouGov poll. Many of those surveyed are either “very” (56%) or “somewhat” concerned (30%) about “false or misleading information” being communicated about coronavirus.
The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,640 US adult residents, who were interviewed online between May 20 and 21. The poll found that the conspiracy theory surrounding Covid-19 vaccine and Gates is also popular among Fox News viewers and Trump voters. Results show that 19% of Democrats, 24% of independents, 44% of Trump voters and 50% of Americans who watch Fox News as their primary television news source, also believe in this conspiracy theory. At the same time, 15% of MSNBC viewers and 12% of Clinton voters say the story is true. Such beliefs can have disastrous consequences. Currently, there is no treatment or vaccine to fight the new coronavirus. However, if and when a vaccine is approved, if people refuse to get vaccinated, it will become harder to end the pandemic.
According to the analysis, 26% of Republicans do not believe the false microchip vaccine narrative and 31% are undecided on the issue. Forty-five percent of independents, 52% of Democrats and 63% of people who say they voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 say they do not believe the conspiracy theory about Gates and vaccines. "Skepticism about a possible coronavirus vaccine is already taking root on the right. There is little partisan disagreement over vaccines in general: 83% of Americans consider childhood vaccines either 'somewhat' or 'very' safe, and more than 80% of Democrats, independents, and Republicans share this view. The same goes for concerns over the safety of 'fast-tracking' the vaccine through the typical research and regulatory process: 73% of Americans are at least somewhat concerned, with little difference by party affiliation," says the report.
The survey also found that only 50% of Americans say they intend to get vaccinated "if and when a coronavirus vaccine becomes available". Twenty-three percent of people say they will not get a shot and 27% say they are not sure. The analysis shows that 72% of Clinton voters are more likely to say they will get vaccinated than Trump voters (44%). While Trump has been pushing for a vaccine, the poll suggests that a majority of Trump voters say either that they plan to skip the vaccine (29%) or that they are not sure (27%).
Among other findings, the results show that a 53% of Fox News viewers (53%), along with 49% Trump voters (49%) and 44% of Republicans think anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, touted by Trump, is an effective treatment against Covid-19, even though multiple studies have said this is not true. In contrast, 73% of Clinton voters say it is not, while only 5% of Clinton voters say that hydroxychloroquine is effective. The poll also found that 41% of Trump voters say they would take hydroxychloroquine if it were available to them, while just 4% of Clinton voters say the same.
Asked whether Trump always viewed the coronavirus as a very serious threat, a majority of Trump voters and Republicans (51% in both cases) say yes, while only 3% of Clinton voters and 8% of Democrats agree with the statement. "Asked whether 'this kind of pandemic' was 'something nobody thought could happen', a similar number of Trump voters (51%) and Republicans (52%) answer affirmatively. Only about a third of Democrats (36%) and Clinton voters (30%) say the same, which squares with the fact that the US intelligence community, public health experts, and officials in Trump’s own administration had warned for years that the country was at risk from a pandemic like this," says the report.