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How (not) to Increase Vaccination Willingness

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Cluster of Excellence – Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS) | Katrin Schmelz, Heike Klüver, Mujaheed Shaik, Martin Bergfelder, Julia Vismann


Panel discussion with Prof. Heike Klüver, Principal Investigator at SCRIPTS and  Professor of Comparative Political Behavior at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Dr. Katrin Schmelz, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Cluster of Excellence “Politics of  Inequality”, Universität Konstanz, Prof. Mujaheed Shaikh, Professor of Health Governance at Hertie School, and Dr. Martin Bergfelder, Head of Corona Taskforce,  Federal Foreign Office Germany. A cooperation of SCRIPTS and the Humboldt Lab of  the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Comprehensive vaccination is seen as the most important measure for containing the  Covid-19 pandemic. The majority of governmental leaders as well as scientists seem to  agree that policies of direct enforcement stand in contradiction to or at least challenge  certain principles of liberal societies. In light of a slowdown or even a stagnation of the  vaccination rate, the question arises which kind of policies are best suited to spur the  vaccination uptake in order to reach a herd-immunity target.

What can be said at this point about the group of unvaccinated people in Germany?  Which strategies are most effective in increasing the willingness to be vaccinated? What  is the relation between enforcement, public trust and vaccine acceptance? On a broader level, what could be the learnings for global health about strengthening  citizen compliance? In light of these findings and recent trends, which shape should the vaccination campaigns take for the remainder of the pandemic – not only in Germany  but on the level of international cooperation?

Prof. Heike Klüver from the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script – SCRIPTS” and Dr. Katrin Schmelz from the Cluster of Excellence “The Politics of  Inequality”, who have both recently published studies on vaccination willingness, as well  as Public and Global Health experts Prof. Mujaheed Shaikh and Dr. Martin Bergfelder discuss these and other questions. The aim is to foster an interdisciplinary knowledge  exchange between theory and practice, between science, public administration and  society.

About the Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script” (SCRIPTS) 

The Cluster of Excellence “Contestations of the Liberal Script” (SCRIPTS) is an  international research platform hosted by Freie Universität Berlin that analyses  contemporary contestations of liberal democracy and the market economy. The term  “liberal script” relates to a set of ideas and institutional prescriptions about the  organisation of society based on the core principle of individual self-determination.  SCRIPTS, which has been operating since 2019 and is funded by the German Research  Foundation (DFG) until the end of 2025, brings together eight major Berlin-based  research institutions. Part of the Cluster’s research teams are doctoral students,  postdoctoral researchers and professors (Principal Investigators) from social, political  and area studies. SCRIPTS invests in early career support, collaborates with research  institutions worldwide and engages in knowledge exchange with political and cultural  institutions. In addition, SCRIPTS brings renowned research fellows from all over the  world to Berlin. The directors are Prof. Tanja A. Börzel (Freie Universität Berlin) and Prof. Michael Zürn (Freie Universität Berlin and WZB Social Science Center).

About the Humboldt Lab

The Humboldt Lab in the Humboldt Forum is a living workshop of ideas where top-level research enters into a dialogue with the public. It presents research by the excellence clusters of the Berlin University Alliance and other cutting-edge institutes and faculties at the Humboldt-Universität. With the inaugural exhibition „After Nature“ it is a place where latest research projects and findings are presented, a place for networking and discussion, for sharing, interdisciplinarity and internationality, and for debates on pressing issues of our time. And it does all of this in a historical perspective with the aid of numerous objects from the fascinating world of university collections and the history of science. As a “Science HUB” the Humboldt Labor is in equal measure an interface, a marketplace and a pivot point between science and society.



This event can be attended digitally or in person. If you would like to attend the event on-site, please book your spot here.

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You can reach the Humboldt Forum with the buses 100, 300 and N5, stop Lustgarten, and 147, stop Berliner Schloss. The closest underground station Rotes Rathaus and the underground and S-Bahn station Alexanderplatz are barrier-free. Disabled parking spaces are available.

All areas of the Humboldt Forum are accessible at ground level or via elevators and lifts. A tactile floor guidance system in connection with tactile floor plans makes it easier for blind and visually impaired people to find their way around a large part of the traffic and exhibition areas. Wheelchairs, rollators, mobile seating and buggies are available for loan – please contact us.

On site, a 3G-proof is requested. You are required to wear a FFP2 protective mask in the building and during the event.

Zur Übersicht

Katrin Schmelz

Universität Konstanz

Post-doctoral Researcher

Heike Klüver

Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Principal Investigator, RU (Re-)Allocation, BGTS Faculty

Mujaheed Shaik


Professor of Health Governance, Hertie School

Mujaheed Shaikh is Professor of Health Governance at the Hertie School. His research concentrates broadly on the field of health economics and management with a focus on health expenditures, hospital efficiency and competition, and health insurance. He also has a keen interest in policy issues related to international donor funding for diseases and health in developing countries.

Mujaheed holds a doctorate in economics from Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, and a Master in International health management from Imperial College, London. Prior to joining the Hertie School, Mujaheed was employed at the Health Economics and Policy Division of Vienna University of Economics and Business. He has published in top field journals and has won several international awards for his research papers, however, it is his passion for bridging the divide between policy and research by informing governance discourse through rigorous scientific evidence, which defines his spirit as a health economist.

Martin Bergfelder


Diplomat at the Federal Foreign Office Germany

Martin Bergfelder is a diplomat at the Federal Foreign Office Germany. As the Coordinator for the Foreign Policy Dimension of Global Health Issues, he is the Head of the Corona Taskforce.

TV-/radio presenter and science journalist

Julia Vismann works as a presenter, editor and reporter for radioeins rbb, inforadio rbb, Deutschlandfunk and other ARD stations. For rbb and the Berlin University Alliance she produces and hosts the “Talking Science” podcast. As a graduate of film studies, history and politics (Ruhruni Bochum, FU Berlin), she deals with scientific topics and implements them very enthusiastically and generally understandable in reports. For example, she was the editor responsible for the “Arctic Week” on radioeins and accompanied a research team on the search for water eddies in the ocean as part of the Science Year of Seas and Oceans.

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Über den Veranstaltungsort
Humboldt Lab
Berlin, Berlin 10178 Germany

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