Lewis Hamilton apologises after criticism for anti-vaxxer Instagram post

27 July 2020, 15:41

F1 star Lewis Hamilton drew criticism for the post
F1 star Lewis Hamilton drew criticism for the post. Picture: Getty

By Ewan Somerville

Lewis Hamilton has apologised after he attracted criticism for sharing an anti-vaxxer video on his Instagram account.

The Formula One star, 35, re-posted a video on his Instagram story from the content creator King Bach showing Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, discussing trials for a Covid-19 cure on US network CBSN. 

The clip was accompanied with the caption “I remember when I told my first lie”, not written by Hamilton. 

The billionaire tech boss was seen rubbishing unsubstantiated claims over side effects during coronavirus vaccine testing, and baseless suggestions that he wants to embed tracking chips in the vaccines.

“No, there’s no connection between any of these vaccines and any tracking type thing at all, I don’t know where that came from,” Gates said.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine trials

READ MORE: Oxford vaccine 'creates safe and immune response'

In June the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged a $1.6 billion investment to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to aid the development of Covid-19 treatment.

Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson labelled anti-vaxxers “nuts” as he announced plans to expand the free flu vaccinations programme to everyone aged over 50, with the NHS warning of its biggest ever immunisation push this winter.

Speaking during a visit to a doctor’s surgery in east London on Friday, Johnson told staff: “There’s all these anti-vaxxers now. They are nuts, they are nuts.”

During lockdown in Britain, around 100 telecoms masts have been set ablaze, thought to be linked to the baseless conspiracy theory that 5G and coronavirus are linked, and broader evidence-free anti-vax theories. 

READ MORE: US claims Chinese hackers targeted companies developing coronavirus vaccine

The F1 World Champion uploaded this to his Instagram story
The F1 World Champion uploaded this to his Instagram story. Picture: Instagram/Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton later deleted the post, writing in an apologetic follow-up story to his 18.3 million followers: “Hi guys. I’ve noticed some comments on my earlier post around the coronavirus vaccine, and want to clarify my thoughts on it, as I understand why they might have been misinterpreted.

“Firstly, I hadn’t actually seen the comment attached so that is totally my fault and I have a lot of respect for the charity work Bill Gates does. I also want to be clear that I’m not against a vaccine and no doubt it will be important in the fight against coronavirus, and I’m hopeful for its development to help save lives. 

“However after watching the video, I felt it showed that there is still a lot of uncertainty about the side effects most importantly and how it is going to be funded. I may not always get my posting right, I’m only human but I’m learning as we go. Sending you positivity.”