Study finds stigma against unvaccinated COVID-19 worldwide

People who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 have discriminatory attitudes towards those who have not been vaccinated, a new study of more than 15,000 citizens in 21 countries suggests. I’m here.

“Individuals who follow the advice of health authorities are morally blaming unvaccinated people for violating the social contract during the crisis,” said two Denmark-based scientists. , writes in a paper published Thursday. Nature“People who refuse vaccines report feeling discriminated against and pressured against their will.”

To measure bias based on COVID-19 immunization status, researchers asked about 15,233 people how they would feel if their next of kin married a vaccinated or unvaccinated person. I asked him how he felt. , or partisan lines.

Specifically, participants were presented with brief descriptions of a series of fictional individuals and asked to imagine that these were people one of their immediate family members was about to marry. Showing her two profiles side-by-side at once, saying, “This person would be unhappy if she married one of my close relatives,” and “I don’t think this person can be trusted.”

One of the six attributes that describe these eligible individuals is their COVID-19 vaccination status, which varies randomly between ‘fully vaccinated’ and ‘unvaccinated’. increase. Other attributes were age, occupation, hobbies, personality, and “family lineage,” which distinguishes “natives.” [the respondent’s country]” and those who “migrated from the Middle East”.

Survey results

Six countries – Germany, India, Indonesia, Morocco, South Africa and the United Kingdom – were chosen to represent both wealthy Western countries and developing countries, but those who were not vaccinated were not vaccinated. It was found to be disliked by 14% of those who received it. They are drug addicts (15% points), far more than those who have been in prison (10% points), atheists (7% points) and people with mental illness (6% points).

Furthermore, among vaccinated people, overall aversion to unvaccinated persons (13 percentage points) was found to be 2.5 times higher than among immigrants from the Middle East (5 percentage points). rice field. In fact, according to the paper, even in the 10 countries deemed unfriendly to immigrants, unvaccinated people face far more hostility than immigrants. Discriminatory attitudes toward unvaccinated Middle Eastern immigrants were found to be as strong as those against unvaccinated natives.

In contrast, researchers found that, on average, unvaccinated respondents exhibited little discriminatory attitudes toward vaccinated people.

“The results show that prejudice is mostly one-sided,” the authors write. “Only in [the] In the United States and Germany, unvaccinated people have been found to harbor some antipathy toward vaccinated people. No statistical evidence for ”

“The observation that vaccinated individuals discriminate against unvaccinated people, but there is no evidence to the contrary, is consistent with research on the psychology of cooperation,” said George Soros, funded by said Alexander Boe, a political psychologist and lead author of the Central provided. European University (CEU).

psychological explanation

Such prejudices, according to research, can be explained by psychological mechanisms against “free riding.” In other words, the highly polarized moral sentiments surrounding COVID-19 vaccination have activated this mechanism in vaccinated people, turning those who refuse to take jabs into the ethics of collective effort. I came to see him as a “free rider” who failed.

This may also explain why unvaccinated people face stronger prejudices in cultures with deeper cooperative dilemmas. It has been shown that infected individuals respond more negatively to unvaccinated people,” Bor said at the CEU. news release.

“In the short term, prejudice against the unvaccinated may complicate pandemic management. ,” the authors concluded, and authorities should avoid using moral rhetoric that could foster deep animosity among citizens during “social crises.” claimed to be.

The study is based on data collected from 21 countries between 3 December 2021 and 28 January 2022: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, UK, USA. Each country was represented by at least 500 adults, and quotas were extracted to match the population for age, sex, and region of residence.

The researchers say they deliberately left out the poorest countries, where a COVID-19 vaccine is not yet widely available.

Bill Pang


Bill Pang is a reporter for the Epoch Times.