Vaccine hesitancy in the Northeastern states in India seem to be fuelled by some Churches and Christian groups which are discouraging people from taking the Chinese coronavirus vaccines. As per reports, ‘prayer warriors’ are advocating use of herbs and faith to ‘cure’ COVID while discouraging them from taking vaccines. As per the report, in Christian dominated Nagaland, an unnamed office-bearer of Naga Baptist Church Council has distanced themselves from these ‘prayer warriors’ describing them as ‘independent preachers’.
In January this year, a prophecy issued by Eastern Zion Healing Ministry claimed that the COVID-19 mass vaccination is ‘not the will of the god’ and all believers were asked not to take them. “Through the vaccination, the mark of the ‘beast’ will come which will follow biochip/microchip containing the number of the beast,” the prophecy read. It also claimed that those ‘believers’ who take the COVID-19 vaccine ‘will not be able to enter the reign of Christ’s millennium kingdom’.
Similar prophecies were issued by the group even in 2018 which claimed that Aadhaar card and Rubella vaccines were against the will of god.
In Meghalaya, Christian groups are linking vaccines to ‘evil force’. Earlier, Aadhaar was also seen as being ‘marked by the devil’ by some Christian groups. Similarly, in Manipur, some believe that Bible and not vaccine will save them. The vaccine hesitancy is specially higher in the hill areas, dominated by Christians.
Earlier in May, 2021, soon after the 5-day Church revival camp was heldRr in April, the test positivity in Nagaland rose to 13%. In the event, which turned up to be a superspreader event, 45 out of 69 people tested positive for COVID, with a 65% positivity.