SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — When Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner asked Orange County Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chau about possible trackers in COVID-19 vaccines, Chau laughed at first.
"Is there any intention of tracking folks," Wagner asked during the Tuesday meeting. "Is there any in the vaccine. We heard about an injection of a tracking device. Is that being done anywhere?"
In response, Chau laughed and then apologized before answering.
"I'm sorry I just have to compose myself," he said. "There is not a vaccine with a tracking device embedded in it [that] exists in the world. Period."
The short video clip has since gone viral, with some saying it gives fuel to conspiracy theorists who espouse the myth that tracking chips have been put in vaccines while worrying health officials concerned about vaccine hesitancy.
The question came after multiple members of the public spoke during the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting and spread what officials said was misinformation about vaccines, including one woman who falsely claimed that so-called vaccine passports could result in the jailing of people "not obeying all of the rules."
And on Thursday, Wagner held a news conference where he lashed out at the national media for taking his comments out of context and clarified his line of questioning.
"At the board meeting, all I was doing was walking Dr. Chau through some of those claims, not because I wondered whether they were true, not because I thought they might be true," he said. "I know they're not."
Those myths, Wagner said, were contributing to vaccine hesitancy and are something local doctors said they were also working to dispel.
"I appreciate the opportunity to dispel anything that might add to vaccine hesitancy," Dr. Charles Bailey, an infectious disease specialist at St. Joseph Hospital, said. "These are all very safe and very, very effective vaccines."
Also on Thursday, Orange County announced that it would resume administering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine May 2.
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