Ganta, Nimba County – Some residents of communities in Ganta, Nimba County are spreading rumors that getting the COVID-19 vaccines means a person is accepting the “Mark of the Beast”, which is also known as “666”. According to the Bible, as written in in the Book of Revelation, the “Mark of the beast” signals an allegiance to Satan or those who reject God’s memorial of creatorship.
But available information about the Covid-19 vaccines suggests that this rumor is misleading, false and was created by conspiracy theorists to increase vaccine hesitancy amongst populations.
Are Covid-19 Vaccines Safe?
All Covid-19 vaccines have been approved by the World Health Organization and other regulatory bodies including national governments like the government of Liberia.
For example, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free for everyone and is meant to protect people from severe illness, hospitalization or death.
According to the WHO, before receiving validation from WHO and national regulatory agencies for use, all COVID-19 vaccines have to undergo rigorous testing during clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and efficacy.
“As with all vaccines, WHO and regulatory authorities will continuously monitor the use of COVID-19 vaccines to identify and respond to any safety issues that might arise,” the WHO states on its website.
Why the ‘666’ Conspiracy Theory?
An article by US Today, a credible American news outlet, found that these conspiracy theories about the vaccine is created due to the “lack of trust in the government and medical field”.
Professor John Evans, professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the University of California, is quoted in the article as saying that “Studies show that any conflicts between religion and science are not about facts, they are more about values and morals.”
When we checked, LVL found no evidence produced by these conspiracy theorists to validate their claim that Covid-19 vaccines are the “Mark of the Beast”. But they rather rely on religious beliefs of the “Christian apocalyptic” narration in the Bible.
An article published in Religion & Politics – an online news outlet – about similar misinformation concerning the COVID-19 vaccine, quoted several theologians who argued that during time of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, fear of the end time exacerbate which then create these conspiracy theories.
In another article published in theConversation.com, Eric Vanden Eykel, Associate Professor of Religion at Ferrum College, writes that the “mark of beast” as explained in the Bible “has throughout history been misunderstood as referring to various events and phenomena. It’s connection to the COVID-19 vaccine is but the latest example of such misunderstanding”.
There is no evidence to show that COVID-19 vaccines are associated with the ‘mark of the beast’. On the other hand, the vaccines – based on available data collected by Scientists – have proven to be effective against COVID-19. Therefore, this rumor about the vaccine is misleading.
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