CORONAVIRUS

Doctor Laughs Out Loud At Tinfoil Hat-Worthy Suspicion About Vaccines

Don Wagner, a GOP official in Orange County, said he asked the question to relay others' fears, not his own. The doctor said he knew it was a rhetorical question.

A California health official had to compose himself Tuesday after an Orange County Republican asked on behalf of constituents if the COVID-19 vaccine contained tracking devices.

“In the vaccine, we heard about an injection of a tracking device. Is that being done anywhere?” Orange County Board of Supervisors member Don Wagner asked the county’s health care agency director, Dr. Clayton Chau.

After a long pause, Dr. Chau laughed. 

“I’m sorry, I just have to compose myself,” Dr. Chau said. “There is not a vaccine with a tracking device embedded in it that I know of exists in the world. Period.”

A clip of the moment went viral, garnering over 1 million views online.

A representative for Chau specified in an email that the health official was laughing at the suggestion and not his colleague.

“There were actually people who showed up believing that there is a tracking device in the vaccine, and that’s what I was laughing at, not the Supervisor as the media outlets have presented out of context,” Chau said in a statement. “That’s why the Supervisor asked me that question—for me to address and dispel the myth for the public. I know Supervisor doesn’t believe that myth because we talked about it; and because I was the one who vaccinated him.”

The question arose during a county supervisors’ meeting to discuss vaccine passports and maintaining the region’s coronavirus state of emergency declaration. 

In a press conference Thursday, Wagner said that he brought it up in an effort to have Chau debunk and address vaccine concerns raised by Orange County residents in meetings and other correspondence. 

“While preposterous to so many of us, thankfully, it truly is a myth that we’ve had to constantly address in Orange County,” Chau said.

Wagner tweeted earlier this month that he had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, administered by Chau. Both officials encouraged the public to get vaccinated. 

Baseless conspiracy theories about vaccines containing microchips have circulated intermittently online. They have been the source of ridicule and memes that often appear on social media.

This story has been updated to reflect Wagner’s clarification that he did not believe the question he raised and to include a statement from Chau.