Lewis Hamilton has been heavily criticized after sharing an anti-vaxxer video with his 18.3 million Instagram followers.
The six-time Formula 1 champion, 35, shared content maker King Bach’s video twice on his Instagram story.
The video, which has since disappeared from Hamilton’s story, interviews tech billionaire Bill Gates about progress in getting a vaccine to fight Covid-19.
The caption attached to the video shared by Hamilton – although not written by him – reads, “I remember telling my first lie.”
Lewis Hamilton (right) received heavy criticism after sharing an anti-vaxxer video to his Instagram story (left) with the caption, ‘I remember telling my first lie’
Hamilton has since made an Instagram statement saying he hadn’t seen the caption in the video. He did not apologize for the post, just tried to clarify the “misinterpretation.”
He wrote on social media: “I have noticed some comments about my previous post about the coronavirus vaccine and I want to clarify my opinion about it as I understand why they may have been misinterpreted.
“First of all, I hadn’t really included the comment, so that’s entirely my fault and I have a lot of respect for the charity work Bill Gates is doing.
“I also want to be clear that I am not against a vaccine and that it will undoubtedly be important in the fight against the corona virus, and I hope that its development will save lives.
But after watching the video, I felt it showed that there is still a lot of uncertainty about the main side effects and how it will be funded. I may not always get my message right. I am only human, but I learn by doing. ‘
Gates, the founder of Microsoft, now devotes much of his time and energy to his global health foundation and supports the South Korean company SK Bioscience.
In the video, he hears concerns about possible side effects of a coronavirus vaccine and he overturns the unfounded suggestions that he wants to include tracking chips in a vaccine.
Gates gave the company $ 3.6 million (£ 2.8 million) in May to accelerate the development of a vaccine to combat Covid-19.
And in a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, such as reported by Fortune, Gates stated that he was confident the company could produce as many as 200 million vaccine kits by June 2021.
Vaccination is the latest controversy that has engrossed Hamilton after recently calling Bernie Ecclestone “ ignorant and uneducated ” after the ex-Formula 1 boss made comments about racism.
Ecclestone, 89, told CNN that “in many cases, black people are more racist than white people.”
Six-time world champion Hamilton said Ecclestone’s comments were “sad and disappointing.”
Hamilton attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park last month after a global commotion following the death of George Floyd and has mastered sporting events, including the recent Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton fans slammed his relocation of the video, suggesting Gates was lying
Gates used his American TV appearance to ignore the unfounded suggestions that he wants to include tracking chips in a coronavirus vaccine
Hamilton fans spoke out against the ‘irresponsible bullshit’ he re-posted on his page
Hamilton’s decision to share the post today, suggesting Gates was on American television in an interview, was met with condemnation.
Bill Gates conspiracy theories: from implanting microchips to planning the killing of 15% of the world’s population
Conspiracy theories that Bill Gates plans to use a Covid-19 vaccine to implant microchips in humans are circulating during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some are falsely claiming that Gates is using the Covid-19 pandemic as a way to push a vaccine containing these microchips that people can track, and thus the world’s population.
In fact, other conspiracy theorists say he plans to wipe out 15 percent of the world’s population with the hypothetical vaccine.
The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has never proposed or funded any research into the development of a vaccine – for Covid-19 or otherwise – that includes the injection of a tracking or monitoring device.
While the charity funded a pilot study, conducted by MIT and Rice University, into a potential vaccine delivery device that can ‘detect an invisible marker that can be detected by a smartphone,’ it was completely theoretical and would not have been able to follow or monitor.
The conspiracy theory, which has gained a lot of traction online, cites this study in conjunction with another concept that Gates is actively researching, called a ‘digital identity’, which allows cloud-based storage of a person’s medical records and personal identification documents – only accessible with the permission of the owner.
An online group also claims that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tested vaccines on children in Africa and India, resulting in thousands of deaths and irreversible injuries. One report even suggested that he be brought to trial in India.
He has been accused of rolling out a tetanus vaccine in Kenya with abortion medicines.
In addition, a video has been viewed almost two million times on YouTube accusing Gates of wanting to chip people.
A Hamilton fan wrote on Twitter: ‘Oh @LewisHamilton Please don’t spread antivax bullshit. I’ve been a big fan of thick and thin for years, but spreading antivax nonsense is insanely irresponsible. ‘
Wondering if he hadn’t questioned the material, others wrote, “ Disappointed with @LewisHamilton putting Antivaxx nonsense in his IG stories without thinking or challenging. Do it better.’
In the video, when asked about conspiracy theories that he was responsible for creating the virus or implanting microchips into a potential vaccine, Gates says with a wry smile that he has no idea where that groundless suggestion came from.
“No, there is no connection between any of these vaccines and anything of the tracking type,” he said. “I have no idea where this is from.”
He continues, “Dr. Fauci (America’s top infectious disease officer) and I are the two most frequently mentioned. Some of these are very ironic. Our foundation is about reducing death and bringing equality to health.
“The idea of being accused of making chips or the virus – I think we need to find out the truth and explain our values, and why we’re willing to bet billions to accelerate progress.
“It’s a little unclear to me, but I hope this will decrease as people understand the facts.”
Hamilton will be back in the UK this week as he prepares for the British Formula 1 Grand Prix at Silverstone. He has used his platform as the sport’s biggest name to urge fans to stay away from the track while the race takes place behind closed doors.
“It’s not my job to come up with rules and tell people what to do,” Hamilton told Autosport. “What I see on TV is that people are trying to live through this difficult time, but this continues to spread. So I always try to encourage people to keep their distance and stay at home. ‘
Last week, Boris Johnson shot anti-vaxxers as ‘nuts’ and urged everyone to get the flu vaccine this summer.
The prime minister lashed out at those who don’t get their shots, as the government launched a massive new push to try to protect the NHS this winter pending a possible second coronavirus wave.
Fellow tennis player Novak Djokovic has also come under fire for his stance on vaccinations.
Djokovic, 32, said: “Personally, I am against vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by anyone to take a vaccine to travel.
“But what happens if it becomes mandatory? I’ll have to make a decision.
“I have my own thoughts about the case and I don’t know if those thoughts will ever change.”
How close are we to finding a vaccine for coronavirus and why do we need one?
Why is a coronavirus vaccine important?
This new virus is spreading rapidly, and the majority of the world’s population is still vulnerable to it and may become seriously ill.
A vaccine would give people a certain level of protection, as our immune system would learn to fight the virus.
This, in turn, would mean that more lockdowns could be lifted, the social distance could be relaxed, and we could all return to a more normal life.
What progress is being made?
Research is accelerated worldwide and there are currently 140 vaccines in early development. Several are being tested on humans in clinical studies.
There is a lot of hope for a trial at Oxford University. Research there shows that the vaccine can trigger an immune response.
A deal has been struck with AstraZeneca to supply 100 million doses in the UK alone.
Scientists in China have also started developing a vaccine they believe is safe and has led to the production of protective antibodies.
The largest COVID-19 vaccine study in the world started today with the first of 30,000 scheduled volunteers to help test shots taken by the United States government – one of many candidates in the final leg of the global vaccine race.
“We are optimistic, cautiously optimistic” that the vaccine will work and that there will be “data by the end of the year” to prove it, “Dr. Stephen High, president of Moderna in Massachusetts, last week on a House subcommittee.
When do we get a coronavirus vaccine?
It normally takes years to make a new vaccine, but this time scientists set speed records, spurred by the knowledge that vaccination is the world’s best hope against the pandemic.
The coronavirus was not even known before the end of December, and vaccine manufacturers took action on January 10 when China shared the genetic sequence of the virus.
Most experts believe that a vaccine will likely be widely available in mid-2021.