Recently, the WaPo reported that, despite the vaccine mandates, “Thousands of federal workers seek religious exemptions to avoid shots.” Resistance is particularly strong in the African-American community.
Millions have refused the vaxx, and we’ve seen “celebrities” joining the movement, and even public figures better known for their intellectual production, such as Naomi Wolf, have been notable critics of the vaccine imposition. Another anti-vaccination activist is J. I. Rodale, who basically is the spiritual figure of the whole sustainable agriculture and organic food movement.
Anti-vaccination activism has indeed a long history, one could argue as old as vaccination itself, and one common argument is to link the MMR vaccine with autism (the 2016-documentary Vaxxed covers the issue).
But here we will not even discuss the “effectiveness” of vaccines, even if Chris Hables Gray, a lecturer from the faculty of humanities at UC Santa Cruz (so no “rogue religious fanatic”), says:
Some claim that these vaccines have virtually eliminated most of the deadly childhood diseases, but most evidence shows that drops in the rate of polio and diphtheria occurred prior to the widespread use of vaccines, probably due to improvements in hygiene and sanitation. In fact, there was a slight increase in the incidence of polio after the introduction of the Salk vaccine in 1952.
There have also been so many clearly disastrous vaccination programs, such as the swine flu fiasco and the smallpox vaccine, which proved to be “the only source of smallpox related deaths for three decades after the disease had disappeared.”
Some doctors believe there is a host of potentially devastating problems that could be caused by immunization programs.
So, even if we forget the question of how effective vaccines are, or how they can in fact have a negative influence (autism, targeting the immune system, etc), what we can see, after reading how peoples refuse the vaxx in the name of their religion, we see another “religion,” what Walene James in a book of the same title calls the “vaccine religion.” This is a religion backed by priests (“the scientific community” and the whole corporate world backing them). The vaccine has become a sort of religious obligation for the masses. If you don’t accept them, you’re somehow the target of takfir (“cancel-culture”), ready to lose all sorts of credibility and even media presence (Naomi Wolf, the feminist ideologue we referred to at the beginning, lost her Twitter account on that grounds of, as The Guardian puts it, “spreading vaccine myths.”
In that context, the “vaccine passports” have become a sort of baptism: You can only access the public space in its entirety if you received this “holy water,” otherwise you’ll be a sort of sub-altern being, not to say second or third-class citizen.
So, this is all interesting for us Muslims to see not only how the secular world uses coercion for its own purposes, but how it adopts a sort of pseudo-religious rhetoric and socialization to rationalize it.
Let’s end this with a few words from Robert S. Mendelsohn, famed doctor in his times who also discovered the whole religious nature of the process (and thus proposed a healthy “apostasy,” so to speak), from the foreword to Walene James’ earlier book, Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth:
(The book) delivers far more than a scientific indictment of the “holy water” of Modern Medicine’s idolatrous, deadly religion […] (it) will open the eyes of those who still believe in the religion of modern medicine. It will strengthen those who have left that religion.
 Chris Hables Gray, “Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age”, Routledge, 2000, p. 96.
 Walene James, “Immunization : the reality behind the myth”, South Hadley, Mass. : Bergin and Garvey, 1988, p. XV.