On 21 January 2016, dubious news and conspiracy theory site Your News Wire (now NewsPunch) published an article with the headline “Bill Gates Admits ‘Vaccines Are Best Way to Depopulate’”. The article opened with a damning assertion: “Bill Gates has openly admitted that vaccinations are designed so that governments can depopulate the world.”
To support this claim, the site presented a February 2011 video clip of Bill Gates being interviewed by CNN’s Sanjay Gupta about his foundation’s vaccination efforts:
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Ten billion dollars over the next 10 years to make it “the year of the vaccines.” What does that mean exactly?
Bill Gates: 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 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.
To make sure the point was not lost on the reader, Your News Wire repeated the “reduce population growth” emphasized above numerous times at a variety of different playback speeds, as if to suggest this were a slip of the tongue revealing some nefarious secret. This narrative was reinforced with another video that opens with this text
Next are two short excerpts from a recently filmed TED presentation (Feb 2010) by none other than Bill “Microsoft” Gates … As Gates casually addresses the issue [of reducing carbon emissions], he goes on to state that one way to accomplish this goal is to reduce the global human population.
In the first clip you will hear him state in plain language that he considers VACCINES to be desirable to that end. You will also casually hear him promoting HEALTH CARE and REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES, to accomplish that same goal.
In the second excerpt you will hear Gates again confirming his profound affection for vaccines
The damming moment, according to Your News Wire was the following statement from Gates: “First, we’ve got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent …”
The suggestion, hinted at by both of these clips and argued later in the article, was that Gates knows vaccines are dangerous — and he is using this information to kill children in the developing world to stem population growth. In reality, however, Gates’ statements regarding vaccines and population growth were neither an accidental slip nor a nefarious admission of plans for a new world order.
As discussed in a 21 November 2011 Forbes cover story profiling the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, reducing population growth has always been integral to their stated mission of “improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty”:
In 1997, when he and Melinda first ventured into public health … they focused on birth control, funding a Johns Hopkins effort to use computers to help women in the developing world learn about contraception. The logic was crisp and Bill Gates-friendly. Health = resources ÷ people. And since resources, as Gates noted, are relatively fixed, the answer lay in population control.
As further discussed in this piece, Gates later came to the conclusion that birth control was not the best approach to achieve the goal of slower population growth, instead realizing that — counterintuitively — a reduction in childhood mortality was the best way to limit population growth:
In society after society, he saw, when the mortality rate falls—specifically, below 10 deaths per 1,000 people—the birth rate follows, and population growth stabilizes. “It goes against common sense,” Gates says. Most parents don’t choose to have eight children because they want to have big families, it turns out, but because they know many of their children will die.
“If a mother and father know their child is going to live to adulthood, they start to naturally reduce their population size,” says Melinda.
This is a point Gates has made repeatedly, and his views were clearly articulated in the 2009 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Letter:
A surprising but critical fact we learned was that reducing the number of deaths actually reduces population growth … Contrary to the Malthusian view that population will grow to the limit of however many kids can be fed, in fact parents choose to have enough kids to give them a high chance that several will survive to support them as they grow old. As the number of kids who survive to adulthood goes up, parents can achieve this goal without having as many children.
In other words, Gates is not interested in using vaccines to reduce the population by using them as an agent of death or a tool to sterilize unsuspecting masses. Rather, Gates is interested in keeping more children alive in order to reduce the need for parents to have more children, thus limiting the overall population growth rate.
As evidenced in a 2014 paper published in Science that attempted to calculate future population growth, not everyone is convinced childhood mortality is the smoking gun to quell population growth:
Among the most robust empirical findings in the literature on fertility transitions are that higher contraceptive use and higher female education are associated with faster fertility decline. These suggest that the projected rapid population growth could be moderated by greater investments in family planning programs to satisfy the unmet need for contraception and in girls’ education.
But Gates’ view on childhood mortality contribution to population growth is increasingly discussed in the scientific literature and is still subject to debate. What is not up to debate are the intentions of the Bill and Melinda Gate’s Foundation with regard to vaccines and population growth, as articulated by Bill and Melinda Gates in their Foundation’s 2017 Annual Letter:
Melinda: Saving children’s lives is the goal that launched our global work. It’s an end in itself. But then we learned it has all these other benefits as well. If parents believe their children will survive — and if they have the power to time and space their pregnancies — they choose to have fewer children.
Bill: When a mother can choose how many children to have, her children are healthier, they’re better nourished, their mental capacities are higher — and parents have more time and money to spend on each child’s health and schooling. That’s how families and countries get out of poverty. This link between saving lives, a lower birthrate, and ending poverty was the most important early lesson Melinda and I learned about global health.
This is obviously a far cry from, as Your News Wire.com put it, having Bill Gates tell us “how we must all consent to a ‘kill the humans’ strategy, to ‘save the planet’ from the carbon dioxide we make.”