Don Wagner, a Republican official in California, was greeted with laugheter at Tuesday when he asked during a meeting whether COVID-19 vaccines have tracking devices in them.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors member asked, "Does it track -- is there any intention of tracking folks?"
The meeting was held to discuss so-called vaccine passports, which are designed to prove an individual has been vaccinated and is thus eligible to attend certain events, travel and do other specified activities post-jab.
Orange County Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau said, "Nope," there is no intention of tracking folks with vaccine passports.
Wagner doubled down: "Is there any -- in the vaccine -- we heard about the injection of a tracking device. Is that being done anywhere in Orange County?"
That's when Chau openly chuckled at the lawmaker and said, "I'm sorry. I just have to compose myself. There is not a vaccine with a tracking device embedded in it that I know of that exists in the world. Period."
In an email sent on May 3, Chau explained that he was not laughing at Wagner but at other attendees of the board of supervisors meeting "who showed up believing that there is a tracking device in the vaccine." He added that he believes Wagner asked him the question "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."
Earlier in April, Wagner himself tweeted that he'd received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He thanked Orange County health officials, including Dr. Chau, for helping him get inoculated.
The clip of the exchange took off on Twitter, where users joined in Chau's mirth and disbelief that Wagner seriously wondered if the millions of vaccinated Americans might have opened themselves up to some kind of tracking in the name of combatting the deadly pandemic.
For the record: This post has been updated to include Dr. Chau's statement about what he believes to have been Wagner's intention in asking about tracking devices in the COVID vaccine.