KEY POINTS

  • The poll asked 1,490 people whether they believe the microchip theory
  • The poll also surveyed people whether they trusted medical advice offered by Trump
  • Microchip conspiracy theorists linked mass chip implantation to Bill and Melinda Gates

A large number of Americans believe a conspiracy theory claiming that scientists embedded microchips in COVID-19 vaccine shots, a study found. 

In a poll conducted by YouGov and The Economist, researchers surveyed 1,490 Americans on whether they believe the vaccine is a way for the U.S. government to insert microchips in the general population. At least 15% of Americans concluded that the theory is “probably true,” with 5% saying it’s “definitely true.”

Among the people who believe the conspiracy is true, 27% were white men without a degree and 13% were college graduates. Among white women, 23% had no college degree and 13% were graduates. 

The theory also found some support across two races, with 20% of Black people and 23% of Hispanics believing the conspiracy. 

The conspiracy theory was seen to be more prominent among people who voted for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, with 29% saying they believe the government will implant microchips using coronavirus vaccines. In comparison, only 8% said they believe the theory. 

The poll also asked Americans whether they trust medical advice given by Trump. Among the 1,488 people surveyed, 29% said they trusted or somewhat trusted his advice while 53% said they distrusted Trump’s medical advice. 

The microchip theory is one of the leading conspiracies since the past year. Several posts on social media also claimed that the vaccines will be used by world governments and corporations to track people’s activities. 

Other conspiracy theorists also said that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda were supporters of the “mass chip implantation.” The theory began in March 2020 after Gates noted that the government would likely have a “digital certificate” to show who has tested or recovered from COVID-19 and who has received vaccine shots. 

One widely shared article which promoted the conspiracy theory also referenced a study funded by The Gates Foundation that uses technology to store someone’s vaccine records using special ink. However, the technology functions like an invisible tattoo, which means it could not track movement or collect personal information. 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has since dismissed the theory as false, as reported by BBC

The microchip supply chain is complex and while US giants design semiconductors, production is mostly outsourced to Asian companies The microchip supply chain is complex and while US giants design semiconductors, production is mostly outsourced to Asian companies Photo: AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI