An ultra-Orthodox rabbi has warned his followers against taking the COVID-19 vaccine because it might turn people gay.

Israel, which is leading the world in vaccinations, has had nearly half-a-million infections and close to 4,000 deaths. The ultra-Orthodox community in Israel has recorded high rates of infection stemming from low adherence to social distancing guidelines.

While the three most senior rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox world have encouraged the use of the vaccine, Rabbi Daniel Asor has described it as part of a conspiracy to “establish a new world order” and the work of a “global malicious government” led by the Freemasons, the Illuminati, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and others.

According to Israel Hayom, Israel's most widely read newspaper, Asor, a popular rabbi with a large social media following, claims that taking the vaccine might “turn” people gay.

Asor also called pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna, the U.S. companies behind the vaccines, “criminal organizations,” along with the World Health Organization (WHO). He said that the pharmaceutical companies had misled the ultra-Orthodox leaders into supporting the vaccines with false data.

Havruta, which promotes LGBT rights in the ultra-Orthodox community, was unable to comment because it was “currently gearing up to welcome our impending new members,” Israel Hayom said.