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.

The event was part of Berlin Science Week 2021 and organised by the Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS.


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.