CLAIM: Bill Gates’ former doctor says the vaccine advocate refused to vaccinate his own children.
THE FACTS: The Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist has had all his children fully vaccinated. Social media users have revived a false claim that suggests Gates has an ulterior motive for promoting vaccines. “This Vaccine Pusher doesn’t vaccinate. Bill Gates’ former doctor says billionaire ‘refused to vaccinate his own children,’” states a Facebook post illustrated with a picture of the family. The post goes on to quote an unnamed physician, “I don’t know if he had them vaccinated as adults but I can tell you, he point blank refused to vaccinate them as children.”
Gates’ wife, Melinda Gates, debunked the false claim when it circulated in April 2019. “All three of my children are fully vaccinated,” she said in a Facebook post addressing World Immunization Week. “Vaccines work. And when fewer people decide to get them, we all become more vulnerable to disease.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has long been dedicated to promoting access to vaccines around the world, is now working to fund research into coronavirus treatments and vaccines. The work has led to renewed attacks by those opposed to vaccines and the circulation of conspiracy theories on social media. The false claim about Gates’ children circulated widely in 2018 following an article by the online publication YourNewsWire, which now goes by NewsPunch. Websites are now recirculating the YourNewsWire article suggesting to have inside information from Bill Gates’ supposed doctor. Sean Adl-Tabatabai, the editor-in-chief of the publication, told the AP in an email that YourNewsWire no longer stands by the story. “Our editorial standards have changed significantly since we moved to NewsPunch.com in late 2018,” he said.
Rafael Cabrera and Abril Mulato in Mexico City contributed to this report.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.