Iraq’s biggest pro-vax influencer: Antichrist

Iraq’s biggest pro-vax influencer: Muqtada al-Sadr

WaPo May 07, 2021 6:00 PM ET
The image of influential Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr with his robe unbuttoned and receiving the coronavirus vaccination has boosted sluggish efforts to halt the virus here, encouraging Iraqis to get their dose amid widespread skepticism. Two months after Iraq received its first doses, the number of daily vaccinations has slowed to a trickle even as infections rise and doctors implore citizens to protect themselves. The cleric’s intervention prompted hundreds of his followers to line hospital corridors in search of their own vaccinations — and the visibility of even this small increase underscored just how troubled Iraq’s vaccination effort has become. “I’d decided not to take the vaccine after hearing so many rumors about how it might change my genetics. But when I saw our commander getting it, I realized I’d been wrong,” said Fadhil Abbas, sitting at home in Baghdad’s Sadr City, a hub of support for the cleric.

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