Creepy conspiracy theories and the vaccine
Videos and articles warning against the COVID-19 vaccine that are flooding the internet come with the urgent plea: “Please take time to watch/read because this may be taken down soon.” It suggests that the material may not be to the liking of those who have humanity in their grip, that something out there is out to get us.
Just when the manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine brought tidings that the roll-out of their products is not far off, and leaders of badly stricken countries are heaving sighs of relief, many conspiracy theories are coming out of the woodwork and circulating in social media. At first they sounded like harmless warnings — caveat emptor for all — but later more were being forwarded frequently.
Those issuing the warnings were of different backgrounds and disciplines—a church pastor here, medical doctors there — all coming from left field, each one telling the public that those behind the COVID-19 vaccine are out to hurt humanity.
These charges are straight out of a dystopian novel or movie of the sci-fi genre, but the warnings sound convincing enough that many find it their duty to pass on the information. Think “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley or “1984” by George Orwell.
One preacher demonstrated how the coronavirus bears “the sign of the beast” symbolized by the triple 6, and used computations to show that the world could be nearing doomsday or the so-called “Rapture.” These types could be dismissed as charlatans and overnight soothsayers, but what about those who breathlessly announce their long string of scientific credentials, doctors who say in so many words that the vaccine will turn humanity into an endangered species?
The ones recently forwarded to me argued how the vaccine would alter people’s DNA, making them akin to GMOs (genetically modified organisms); that there is a component called luciferase (as in Lucifer) because it carries light; that there are crystalline particles and little robots that can take your biometric data and store them in the Cloud and so on and so forth. Good grief, that would be the end of people’s privacy and freedom.
Smack center in the conspiracy theory is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that, the doomsday soothsayers say, seeks to depopulate the earth by vaccination. The word “transhumanism” is used, suggesting artificial intelligence at work. And there is the Band-Aid style of vaccine with an enzyme that can modify the DNA and RNA. Even more preposterous is that injecting the vaccine also implants a microchip or transmitter that enables monitoring.
Of course, there have been conspiracy theories in the past that later turned out to be true, and so the ones related to COVID-19 are not to be laughed at just yet. In an article in Wired, Whitney Phillips writes: “People have a lot of bizarre notions about COVID-19 and the 2020 elections—but if you have to laugh, just do it in private… One problem is that making fun of something spreads that thing just as quickly as sharing it sincerely would. (See: COVID-19 conspiracies)”
An Agence France-Presse headline: “Conspiracies could jeopardize COVID-19 vaccine, warn experts.” It quotes from the First Draft report: “‘When people can’t easily access reliable information around vaccines and when mistrust in actors and institutions related to vaccines is high, misinformation narratives rush in to fill the vacuum.’
“Many posts linked vaccines to conspiracy theories such as the belief that a future COVID-19 shot will be used to microchip individuals and develop mass population tracking systems.
“Conspiracy theories were also fueled by a lack of information about vaccine ingredients, for instance, or new technologies such as ‘messenger RNA’ (mRNA) behind the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which announced this week it was 90 percent effective.
“‘We need to find a way to acknowledge people’s uncertainties and fears, rather than dismiss them, and build bridges between the health experts and the vaccine-hesitant.’”
The conspiracy theories sound creepy indeed, but why are the health experts, the creators of the vaccine, the molecular biologists and other scientists who have humankind’s health in mind not saying much to debunk all these charges that are going viral? A vaccine-hesitant population could prove to be deadlier than a “deadly” vaccine.
Send feedback to [email protected]
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.