Bill Gates: Anti-vaccine myths ‘kill children’

Gary Finnegan

Gary Finnegan

March 18th, 2011

Gary Finnegan

Gates_reut_042507Multimillionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has opened fire on all who pedal “lies” about vaccines.

The world’s most influential humanitarian says a fraudulent research paper written by Dr Andrew Wakefield in 1998 has indirectly “killed thousands of kids” by discouraging parents from immunising their children against preventable diseases.

In a no-holds-barred interview on CNN at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Gates said billions of dollars will be invested in vaccinating children around the world but expressed deep frustration at the work of anti-vaccination groups which seek to undermine this effort.

Modern anti-vaccine sentiment is rooted in the publication of a single discredited research paper, according to the Microsoft founder, who is donating $10 billion through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He said its author, Dr Andrew Wakefield, was compromised by “financial interests in some lawsuits” and no other researcher supports the purported link between vaccines and autism.

Gates noted that The Lancet, which had published Wakefield’s research had since retracted the paper and he pointed to a recent investigation by the British Medical Journal which claims that Wakefield had “manufactured data”. (Part two of the BMJ series reveals how the vaccine crisis was designed to make money.)

Gates attacks Wakefield

In an unflinching attack, Gates said that all other studies have shown “no connection whatsoever” between vaccines and autism:

Dr. [Andrew] Wakefield has been shown to have used absolutely fraudulent data. He had a financial interest in some lawsuits, he created a fake paper, the journal allowed it to run. All the other studies were done, showed no connection whatsoever again and again and again. So it’s an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids. Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn’t have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today. And so the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts — you know, they, they kill children. It’s a very sad thing, because these vaccines are important.

He went on to herald the success of vaccination in eradicating smallpox and curbing polio deaths, and promised that more diseases could be wiped out in the coming decade:

Over this decade, we believe unbelievable progress can be made, in both inventing new vaccines and making sure they get out to all the children who need them. We could cut the number of children who die every year from about 9 million to half of that, if we have success on it. We have to do three things in parallel: Eradicate the few that fit that profile — ringworm and polio; get the coverage up for the vaccines we have; and then invent the vaccines — and we only need about six or seven more — and then you would have all the tools to reduce childhood death, reduce population growth, and everything — the stability, the environment — benefits from that.

Gates said simple interventions can saves lives, reduce suffering and help more of the world’s poorest people reach their full potential:

There was a survey recently that showed half the kids in Africa, because of infectious disease, have IQs of 80 or lower. That’s cerebral malaria, that’s malnutrition because their brain doesn’t fully develop. And if you want them to be stable and on their own, you have got to make sure that terrible sickness, that permanently hurts them their entire life, is not there.

By and large, it is the one health intervention that can get to everyone. In fact, it is so simple, people often forget what a big deal this is. The 2 million people that would have died from smallpox now don’t think, “Wow, I’m alive today because of vaccinations,” but that’s the case.

Reaction to Gates’ comments

Bill Gates’ comments will be welcomed by the vast majority of scientists and public health officials for whom Wakefield’s paper has been a source of major frustration. A number of autism advocates also hailed Gates’ for showing leadership on the issue.

But his views met with a defiant reaction from anti-vaccine commentators. Anne Daschel, Media Editor at the Age of Autism, a website for people who believe autism is caused by environmental factors, said CNN had used up Gates’ comments as a fresh excuse to attack Dr Wakefield.

It’s not going to work however. Thousands and thousands of parents everywhere will never stop talking about how their normally developing, healthy children went in for routine vaccinations and suddenly got sick with things like seizures, bowel disease, and life-threatening allergies. They stopped talking and lost learned skills and were eventually diagnosed with autism. Doctors call it a coincidence. They can’t explain what happened to these children. The only thing they’re sure of is that it’s not connected to the ever-expanding vaccine schedule.

Daschel called for a study comparing the autism rate in children who are fully vaccinated with children who have never been immunised – a long-standing demand which critics say would be unethical. She criticised CNN medical editor Dr Sanjay Gupta who conducted the interview. Gupta, she says, seemed open-minded on the vaccines-autism link during a 2008 interview with the parent of an autistic girl.

Public opinion catching up with science?

Gates’ public intervention may be a sign that the tide of public opinion is beginning to turn definitively against the vaccine-autism link. The scientific argument was settled long ago but the meme has proven resistant to even the largest doses of evidence. (See Seth Mnookin’s new book The Panic Virus: Fear, Myth and the Vaccination Debate.)

An article in the Independent takes Gates’ point further: people who do not vaccinate “endanger the rest of us”. The author, Amity Shlaes, says that well-to-do parents who decide not to vaccine their children are not just putting other people’s children at risk but also increase the chances of vulnerable people – like cancer patients – of picking up an infectious disease.

Dr Heidi Larson, an expert in public trust in science (who has received Gates Foundation funding) told Vaccines Today in an interview that restoring faith in vaccines will be a slow process based on communication. She called for leaders to put their heads above the parapet and advocate for vaccines as forcefully as anti-vaccine campaigners. Perhaps Gates has been listening…

Check out The Gates Foundation animation ‘Vaccines Saves Lives’


  1. Debbie Fornefeld

    Debbie Fornefeld

    December 5th, 2011

    My autistic son is 25 years old. God bless Mr. Gates for all he has done and all that he continues to do. He can educate the mainstream, but those parents with autistic children who’ve been fooled into believing that vaccines were the cause may never be enlightened. If you’ve ever been tempted to think that ignorance is bliss, this should be all the evidence you need to prove it is just not true.

  2. Frank JL Cramer

    Frank JL Cramer

    May 17th, 2020

    I believe that some vaccines can cause harm to some children and adults. However people need to remember that strawberries, peanuts and shellfish can kill humans. Everything doesn’t work for everyone. If you go to cemeteries from 1800s, 1900s, before vacines, many many children died at early ages, from diseases that vaccines help curb deaths. In the present 75 years one can see a great disparity between countries that use vaccines and the countries that don’t in the child mortality rates of all countries affect. This iis my belief and all 8 children, and 12 children have been vaccinated. Thanks for allowing me to pos

  3. mary-jane Pereira

    mary-jane Pereira

    May 20th, 2020

    It must be very disheartening to spend your life and money trying to help the people of the world only to become a target for people’s unhappiness and discontent. To keep going in the face of adversity….. there are many who are grateful…. thank you.

  4. Waheed M.

    Waheed M.

    May 29th, 2020

    In response of the recent times COVID19 vaccine where Mr. Bill Gates is being blamed as vaccine mafia along with the other ‘mind controlling’ myths and conspiracy theories, I would like to share that Mr. Gates has saved millions of lives already through his vaccines, and I believe he will save many in future.
    Mr. Gates has reached to the next level of humanity, he is not looking what people are saying against him, he is just doing his work and I am sure he will be remembered as a true human lover.
    Thank you very much Mr. Gates for all good work you have done for us.

  5. Lionel Refson

    Lionel Refson

    June 5th, 2020

    #Antivaxxers Why Do You Mistrust Bill Gates On Vaccines ? Do You Suffer From Paranoia & Fear? via
    A wonderful humanitarian and one who knows how to save us from ourselves. I wrote a fictional account of The Covid-Conspiracies one which ultimately destroys all the conspiracy theory nonsense about this man and others #Zuckerberg #Bezos #Musk etc who work tirelessly to save/improve humanity . Be warned, humanity is at a crossroads and if we turn away from our greatest achievers now we will be making the biggest mistake of our lives

    “Imagine being Bill Gates right now.

    You spend 30 years of your life and $50 billion of your own dollars supporting humanitarian causes. You directly save hundreds of thousands of lives in South East Asia by providing anti malaria netting to half of a continent, you drop infant mortality rates throughout the entire developing world by funding vaccine programs including vaccinating 40,000,000 children for polio, and, amongst a plethora of philanthropic endeavors, you fund free educational platforms like Khan Academy so people can have free access to high quality education.

    Then after donating half of your wealth to charity and pledging 90% of the remainder to charity in your will..

    Arguably doing more to better life on earth for humanity than any other human being to ever live.

    You then hop on the internet only to find a million scientifically illiterate imbeciles that are using the very computers you pretty much invented in the first place to call you a child murdering arch villian antichrist because they watched a YouTube video made by some other yokel with the comprehension of a potato.”

    • Mi


      March 30th, 2021

      “A wonderful humanitarian and one who knows how to save us from ourselves.” You sure you dont work for Bill? Caughtya in your BS

    • Clarence W Oxley

      Clarence W Oxley

      April 15th, 2021

      I’ve seen the deleted videos heard his own words spoke out of his own mouth.

  6. Mark


    July 18th, 2020

    You will only read pro-vaccine views published here

    • Gary Finnegan

      Gary Finnegan

      July 18th, 2020

      Hi Mark,
      That’s not true. There are a variety of views on this platform. We moderate comments according to our Guiding Principles which states that offensive comments will not be permitted.

      • Chuck


        November 24th, 2021

        The problem is who decides what is offensive. I’ve never seen anything in the bill of rights or any other founding document where it says that anyone has the right to not be offended. When you are easily offended you can be easily manipulated.

      • Tony Shumaker

        Tony Shumaker

        December 3rd, 2021

        If the vaccine is so great why do they say it doesn’t prevent you from getting covid or prevent you from spreading it there’s some other agenda here most people are sheep it’s sad and it’s even sadder that you perpetrate this myth of a vaccine that is supposed to work I think I’ll start calling myself a journalist LOL

    • Lee Wainwright

      Lee Wainwright

      August 3rd, 2020

      I guess that may be due to the fact that the anti-vax movement cannot provide one single shred of irrefutable evidence to support their beliefs… not one single study. You would think that there must be something they could point to,but no, not a single scrap.

      There seems to be a complete absence of anything tangible or compelling, so comments are usually anecdotal, copy-pasta, and unsurprisingly take the form of ad-hominem attacks and usually offer nothing more than references to questionable websites with unsubstantiated claims which take seconds to debunk.

      • BOB


        August 7th, 2020

        ahhhh not true at alll open the eyes try reading its all out there in black and white READ READ , all kinds of information out there , that points to the truth

    • bob


      August 7th, 2020

      hi mark ……….agreed

  7. Daniel


    June 28th, 2021

    If a person decides not to drink alcohol should everyone rise up and argue he must, cannot that person decides for him or herself. If you want your vaccine that’s fine but if someone decides not just leave them alone.

    • Nomi


      July 19th, 2021

      I agree 100 per cent. Besides

      Covid is.curable 99 percent chance of not dying. And this vaccine cannot be compared to polio. If you have polio it Cannot be cured. If you get covid you have a 99 percent chance of living. Also you cannot sue if you have clotting or In flamation of the heart. This is a big part scam and very little cure.

    • Sarah


      July 19th, 2021

      You are 100 percent right. Anyone who doesn’t want to vaccinate should stop trying to “educate” people who do.

  8. Me


    November 26th, 2021

    As a 48 year old person that, never been vaccinated do to medical reason’s never caught any deadly infection, and has been healthy as a horse for 47 years reads this.
    Im still alive a kicking, scare tactics and threats don’t work. Your on the internet nothing you can do.
    Your ignorance shows
    Wasn’t there a vaccine massacre in china many year’s ago. Whare china tricked women into taking a deadly vaccine? The vaccine killed thousands of women and children in china?
    Leave people alone that don’t want it.

  9. Patrice Clark

    Patrice Clark

    July 6th, 2022

    A bunch of parents know about this and still give these shots to their kids for a paycheck so they can get wealth off their child’s illness that’s why so many ignore it’s poison to be vaccinated for no reason if you don’t have a illness is stupid and makes you look crazy so I minds well start taking Tylenol to prevent a headache even though I dont have it I’ma take it because it prevents headaches don’t I Sound dumb so why aren’t y’all saying the same about being vaccinated when your not sick or have a disease?