In American conservative media, there has been a recent push encouraging vaccine adoption. Notable examples of figures making public statements advocating for vaccines over the past week include Mitch McConnell, Steve Scalise, and Sean Hannity. Such gestures have been welcomed by semi-puzzled liberals, who have come to associate conservative politics during much of the pandemic with skepticism of vaccines and an embrace of conspiracy theories .
In the past month, a similar push for the acceptance of vaccines has been furthered in Russia. This seems to have been kicked off on June 30 with Vladimir Putin’s annual call-in show where he said he had received the Sputnik V vaccine. This added additional detail to quieter earlier disclosures that the Russian president had received a second shot in March. While promoting the safety of domestic Russian vaccines, Putin continued to stoke fears in Western vaccines, saying: “thank God we haven’t had tragic situations after vaccinations like after the use of AstraZeneca or Pfizer.” 
Putin’s patriotic vaccine statements seemed to form a cue for senior clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) to come out publicly in favor of vaccination with domestic vaccines, using many of the tropes of conservative conspiracy theory. This vaccine promotion is interesting because these figures have themselves often been associated with national ideology, conspiracy theories, and disinformation – and even rumors of involvement with the FSB. Their approach may offer some constructive lessons in how conspiratorial language can be repurposed to promote vaccine adoption. But it also raises more questions about the state of disinformation in Russia and its effects abroad.
I recently read an article which suggested that the conspiracy theory that vaccines contain microchips emerged following a March 18, 2020 Reddit AMA with Bill Gates . In response to the AMA, biohackers began to write positively about the potential for chip-based medical devices to combat epidemics and deliver vaccines.
Within several days of the Reddit AMA, a Baptist pastor from Jacksonville Florida named Adam Fannin – known best for his anti-Semitic conflicts with comedian Sarah Silverman in 2019 – found one of these biohacking blog posts online. Fannin then developed it into his own interpretation of apocalyptic prophecy largely based on his “deep distrust of Gates”. Fannin made a 9-minute YouTube sermon which went viral and accumulated nearly 2 million views before it was taken down. “The pastor titled the post, “Bill Gates – Microchip Vaccine Implants to fight Coronavirus,” adding one pivotal word to the biohackers’ title: vaccine.”
From the start of this pandemic, it has been likened to a war – especially to our generation’s equivalent experience of a world war.
Although this war seems to primarily affect civilians, as of today (January 3, 2021), the US has experienced more than 350,000 deaths due to COVID-19; this is more than the approximately 53,000 U.S. combat deaths in World War I, and it seems likely that within months casualties will eclipse US WWII combat death totals of 416,600.
It seems reasonable to state at this point in history, that the current pandemic is taking on some features which give it some feature similarity to prior world wars and pandemics from the perspective of the public experience.