The Vatican's COVID-19 Vaccine Coin
"The Holy Father has repeatedly stressed the importance of vaccination."
By JOHN LEAKE
The coin depicts a doctor, a nurse and a young person who is ready to receive the vaccine. The Holy Father has repeatedly stressed the importance of vaccination, recalling that healthcare is “a moral obligation”, and it is important to “continue efforts to immunize even the poorest peoples.
After I initially posted this report, I pondered this description (written in the Numista catalogue) and I realized that the formulation "a young person who is ready to receive the vaccine” is identical to the formulation for a communicant “who is ready to receive the host”—in Italian “pronto a ricevere l'Eucaristia.” Realizing this, I wondered who wrote the catalogue copy. Was it the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State?
The obverse of the coin bears the name Franciscus, the year 2022 (“Anno MMXXII”) and the Coat of Arms of Pope Francis.
As I wrote in a Substack essay last October titled “President Biden Keeps the Faith,” it seems that many have placed something akin to religious faith in the COVID-19 vaccines, which are conceived as the Savior of Mankind. With this commemorative silver coin, issued in the name of Francis, the Holy Father officially endorsed the COVID-19 vaccines and bestowed upon them his sublime authority and prestige.
The commemorative coin reminded me of Pfizer’s Viagra PR campaign. Pfizer initially developed the drug to treat high blood pressure and angina pectoris. However, as the company discovered in clinical trials, the drug was better at inducing erections than managing angina. And so, Pfizer repurposed the substance for erectile dysfunction and launched a massive, global PR campaign—including seeking moral approval from Pope John Paul II. The company’s clever marketing people persuaded him that Viagra would strengthen marriages and aid in procreation.
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