Even before Covid-vaccines were developed, researchers of the US elite university Yale investigated which mass psychological means could best be used to get people to push each other to vaccinate. The messages that were identified as particularly effective in a large, elaborate experimental study were precisely those that were later used internationally to promote social ostracism and discrimination of people hesitant to be vaccinated.
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As early as 3 July 2020, started an experimental study by Yale researchers from seven departments, which would much later be published under the title “Persuasive messaging to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake intentions“ (read below).
Considering the elaborate study design with over 4000 participants that had to be recruited and the many university institutes involved (Global Health, Infectious Diseases, Social and Policy Studies, American Politics, Political Science, Epidemiology, Nursing), it is obvious that the planning must have started well before July, when it was still completely in the dark when vaccines would be available and what their characteristics would be.
When the study was finally published in the journal Vaccine in October 2021, the authors admitted as much in the remarks on “limitations” of the study:
However, this lack of knowledge did not stop the scientists from simply claiming, in the various messages which were being tested, that the vaccinations were highly effective and safe and that a high vaccination rate could end the pandemic through herd immunity. These were precisely the claims that would be used all over the world in the subsequent vaccination campaigns. They have since been proven to be highly exaggerated or plain false.
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Yet even in autumn 2021, when the study results were published, and when it had long been clear that there are serious side effects in considerable numbers and that herd immunity is not achievable with the very limited effectiveness of the vaccines, the authors unabashedly claimed:
The authors unusually do not reveal how many subjects participated in the experiment, but only that 4361 stayed until the end. A control group of just under 600 subjects did not receive any messages relevant to vaccination decisions. Just under 300 received the basic message with the claims about the effectiveness and safety of vaccination and that it would be important for as many as possible to be vaccinated in order to end the pandemic. In 12 equally sized groups of also just under 300 test persons, this basic message was supplemented with different additional messages that were supposed to generate moral judgments and feelings.
At the beginning and at the end of the experiment all participants were asked, it they intended to be vaccinated and if they would pressure others to get vaccinated. The following statements proved to be the most effective:
Most effective, unsurprisingly, was the “no bravery” message, which contains the largest bouquet of moral indictments against people who choose not to be vaccinated. All in all, the four most successful messages already contain pretty much everything that has been constantly drummed into us through all channels in the course of the campaign of moral outrage and exclusion against sceptics:
- People who do not get vaccinated may have to live with having infected and killed loved ones afterwards.
- They are reckless, inconsiderate and ignorant.
- If they become ill by their own fault, they take away resources from others who need them more urgently.
- They jeopardize at-risk groups and people who cannot get vaccinated.
- They are stupid or malicious science deniers, because prominent scientists are (always) right.
- They are to blame for the necessary restrictions of freedom by the government.
These messages have caused so much hatred of the unvaccinated, so much division in society, because they were designed and tested to do just that. As the authors of the study put it in posh, scientific terms.
What happens next?
The Yale experts on population manipulation through propaganda continue to eagerly advise. When the erstwhile conspiracy theory of the annual vaccination was declared official US government policy on 6 September 2022, Saad Omer, one of the study’s authors, was on hand with implementation advice.
The White House Corona Coordinator, Ashish Jha, had announced that in future a covid vaccination would probably be needed “only” once a year. This, he said, would best be administered together with the annual flu vaccination. He also said:
To this end, Saad Omer, an epidemiology professor, said the most effective strategy would be to create an opt-out system using the “nudge theory”. Every time someone comes into contact with health workers, that person should be offered vaccination by default.
Omer’s Yale colleagues expressed scepticism in the same article about whether we are really ready to vaccinate only once a year. So much for the great effectiveness of vaccination that Yale was still praising in autumn 2021 and its promise of an end to the pandemic when most people have been vaccinated.
Dr. Norbert Häring born 1963, lives and works as a business journalist in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He grew up on a farm in southern Germany. He studied economics in Heidelberg and Saarbrücken. In Saarbrücken he obtained a Ph.D. in economics with a thesis on the political economy of regional subsidies. This article was originally published on norberthaering.
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