Vaccine hesitancy: A top-ten global health threat

By: Stephers

Steven Taylor
Taylor

The Psychology of Pandemics: Preparing for the Next Global Outbreak of Infectious Disease by Steven Taylor, published in 2019.

I am taking a detour from my research on AI and pandemics to introduce the above book. I have not seen it covered elsewhere.

We often talk about predictive programming in fiction — movies, TV shows, novels … rarely do we discuss predictive programming in non-fiction — in reality. In this sense, this book reads like a playbook for this current pandemic, the psychological operation, or psyop.

I do not recommend that anyone pay money for this book. It is a waste of time. I dedicate my time to researching this type of overt propaganda; I consider it my duty to report on it. Think of the money and time I am saving you!

The foreword of the book is written by Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Ph.D. See below for citations, but here is the abstract on a paper he co-authored.

JSA
Abramowitz

Abstract: The tendency to overestimate threat is among the key transdiagnostic cognitive processes that play a role in the maintenance of clinical anxiety. This chapter defines the phenomenon and discusses its particular role in the persistence of inappropriate fear. It considers the assessment of threat overestimation and provides an overview of how this process manifests itself and addresses in clinical treatment across the diverse landscape of anxiety-related problems. The overestimation of threat may take a variety of forms, including the tendency to catastrophically miscalculate the probability of negative events, misjudge the presumed severity of adverse outcomes, misinterpret the behavior of others as signs of negative evaluation, and inflate the importance of unwanted thoughts.

I am a trained psychotherapist. I received my MS.Ed. in Counseling from an Ivy League university more than 25 years ago. In my opinion, the fear of this unproven “novel” virus that has spread around the globe is a prime example of “overestimation of threat”. In fact, I would “diagnose” this fear as catastrophizing.

Catastrophizing has been defined by Harvard-trained, board certified psychiatrist, Dr. Melissa Welby, as the following:**

Welby
Welby

Catastrophizing thoughts are generally not based on current reality but future projections related to worry thoughts. Catastrophizing anxiety thoughts aren’t productive projections and don’t cause you to improve your future. It’s energy wasted and not energy spent on improving life. And projections associated with anxiety are never positive.

…and then defined here by psychoanalyst, Michael Schreiner, of Seattle, WA:***

Catastrophizing is the faulty thinking pattern where the worst case scenario, which exists only in imagination, is transformed into a supposedly objective fact. When people are catastrophizing, they act as if that catastrophic outcome had already occurred so for all intents and purposes it has.

Does this sound familiar? It certainly does not take a therapist to see this is a mental disorder that has been foisted upon all of society, emanating from self-designated controllers who control the world governments and world media. Ironically, these two therapists I mentioned just happen to be perpetuating online the fear of an invisible threat that has been represented primarily through future projections and worst case scenarios. Go figure…

The author, Steven Taylor, PhD. is Professor and Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. His research and clinical work focuses on mood and anxiety (including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) disorders. Is this book a how-to in creating anxiety and OCD on a global scale?

Interestingly, most of the book was dedicated to addressing two main issues, from the perspective of the author: Nonadherence – to both vaccination and social distancing (the word nonadherence in this context was mentioned 13 times) and conspiracy theories (mentioned a whopping 96 times!). The author considers vaccination nonadherence a “behavioral problem” and a “psychological problem”, as well as a “self-defeating behavior.”

Just as a side note: Anthony Fauci was mentioned six times in reference to his studies on pandemics.

There is mention of “contaminated banknotes” and of course, “superspreaders”(meaning those who are asymptomatic), with reference to the most famous “superspreader”, “Typhoid Mary”.

One of the main concerns of the author are rumors and distrust in authorities, and that is why he says that the World Health Organization, during a pandemic, follows certain guidelines. One of these guidelines is to announce the outbreak early, “even with incomplete information, so as to “minimize the spread of rumors and misinformation.” Taylor also explains that the WHO evaluates the impact of communication programs (AKA propaganda) to ensure that their messages are “being correctly understood and that the advice is being followed.” OK, so they need to assess how effective their propaganda is. 

When speaking about “hygiene practices,” the author mentions wearing facemasks, and of course, frequent handwashing! Taylor claims that facemasks were widely used during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and were mandated by law in many places at that time.

Taylor discusses the practice of social distancing, and that people can gain social contact and support from social media. He expresses concern that some governments may undermine social distancing measures and “downplay the danger” to “avoid the damaging effects that infectious outbreaks have on foreign trade and on public anxiety”.

Notably, the author states that “the psychological ‘footprint’ will likely be larger than the medical ‘footprint’,” in the event of a pandemic. He points out that during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, the “epidemic of fear” was worse than the epidemic itself.

About a quarter way through the book, he addresses the possibility of food shortages due to hoarding and the “rapid evaporation of just-in-time inventories,” and that this may create some of the most “grievous consequences of a global pandemic.”

Taylor refers to studies involving how people differ in their way of seeking or avoiding information about potential health threats. It is quite intriguing how he describes the nature of “risk communication” in the media. He distinguishes between two cognitive styles – monitoring vs. blunting. Those who “monitor” tend to collect information and scan for cues to health threats. Conversely, those who “blunt” tend to get distracted and minimize threatening information. Apparently, researchers measure these reactions with the Monitor-Blunter Style Scale. Who knew?! They have got a psychological assessment for everything these days!

 Of course, the author points out that “blunters” are “at risk for ignoring important health-related threats and failing to take precautionary measures.” Clearly, I would fall into this category according to their scale! They seem to be more concerned about how to reach this category through their “risk communication” measures.

The main concern, though, of the author is the issue of conspiracy theories. He has a whole chapter dedicated to this. He states, “During the next pandemic, we can expect to see the emergence of various conspiracy theories about the source or cause of the infectious agent and about the vaccines (if available) used to treat it. …“Conspiracy theories attempt to explain the causes of significant events by claiming they are due to secret plots by powerful actors.” Taylor goes on to describe methods for reducing conspiratorial thinking. He says that research suggests that “people can be inoculated against conspiracy theories by being exposed to arguments that refute conspiracy theories before the person is exposed to pro-conspiracy arguments.” He laments that “once the belief in a conspiracy theory is firmly established, it can be difficult to correct.”

Halfway through the book, Taylor discusses how beliefs and fears spread through social networks. According to Taylor, “Information transmission and observational learning are particularly relevant to the spread of beliefs and fears through social networks.” So, essentially, again, Taylor is concerned about how to most effectively propagandize. He discusses what was most effective in previous epidemics.

Taylor states very clearly that “infections that are described as novel…and continuously reported in the media will increase the perceived threat of infection. BINGO! This has indeed worked brilliantly! He continues that “the government must help the public to ‘visualize’ what a bad pandemic might be like.” Yeah, been there done that…Most important, he says, is that “people are more likely to be swayed in their opinions if they are presented with vivid narratives or case examples, as compared to bland statistics about risk.”

We’ve seen plenty of these stories, haven’t we? 

Significantly, he addresses how social media might be more effectively used for “health promotion” during a pandemic. He notes that imposed censorship of “misleading information” would likely contribute to the spread of conspiracy theories. He suggests that misleading health information be “tagged” to indicate that it is questionable and unverified. Of course, we are seeing this play out online on a grand scale.

Taylor emphasizes that research is needed to “evaluate the effectiveness of risk communication (AKA propaganda) on people who adhere to conspiracy theories. The author expresses consternation over the fact that there is evidence that “some ‘vaccination skeptical’ websites may be more effective in their methods of communication than pro-vaccination websites,” and that they were “more effective in fostering community building”.

Hmmm. I wonder why that is?

He is also concerned about people who may feel that their autonomy and freedom of choice is being threatened. He said those people are exhibiting “psychological reactance”. So, his term for those of us who want to assert our freedom and feel a “perceived threat” (such as mandatory vaccination) is not only derogatory, it implies, again, a psychological disorder.

Did you know that the WHO in 2019 identified “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the top ten global health threats?

Taylor concludes with this prescient statement: “There will be widespread uncertainty after the pandemic has passed. For some time after, people will wonder whether the pandemic has truly passed or whether the next wave is about to arrive.”

When will the controllers install their next wave of fear? Only time (or their algorithms) will tell…


*Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Abramowitz, Jonathan S. Blakey, Shannon M.Citation: Abramowitz, J. S., & Blakey, S. M. (2020). Overestimation of threat. In J. S. Abramowitz & S.

  1. Blakey (Eds.), Clinical handbook of fear and anxiety: Maintenance processes and treatment mechanisms (p. 7–25). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/

10.1037/0000150-001

**Dr. Melissa Welby, Catastrophizing Anxiety

***Michael Schreiner, What is Catastrophizing?

24 thoughts on “Vaccine hesitancy: A top-ten global health threat

  1. Mark, Excellent article and great catch on this “book”. They create words, psychological disorders and distort history. You can find an insightful article about the Spanish Flu from a friend of mine in Ireland at http://www.zephaniah.eu It is called Reflections on the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918 and questions the veracity of this event in light of the current pandemic. He has written over 200 articles about what is going on right now, albeit with a Christian perspective.

    The only family members I could find with any relatives who had this flu were my husbands great grandfather who actually shot himself with a rifle over financial problems. His humiliated survivors covered up his suicide by claiming that he died of the Spanish flu. I’m not saying nobody died but I don’t think anyone really knows what happened that long ago.

    Recently, pictures of actors (in my humble opinion) dressed in early 20th century garb and face masks due to the Spanish flu went viral on social media. I received these pictures from all my friends who decided “they weren’t alone”. We are being played and it’s working.

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  2. Please let me make sure that I am understanding this correctly. This book was published last year and is virtually a step-by-step manual in how best to deal with a pandemic in precisely the way we have seen it be played out this year. Correct?

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  3. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-psychology-research-predictions-a9406876.html

    Here is a written interview with the author. “I submitted my pandemic book proposal to my editor in early 2019, about 10 months before the Covid-19 outbreak.” There was an audio interview with him (a Canadian radio station), but I can no longer find it, and I think it was removed (?). Taylor was a bit more revealing in that interview from what I can recall, which is why I continued down the path to dig deeper into his work and this “prophetic book”. I will continue to look for the audio interview in the event it is still available or archived somewhere. He said something in that interview that indicated to me there was more behind his intention. I do not believe he is being honest with regard to his intentions in his written interview (linked above). Hopefully one can read between the lines. After spending $19.99 for the Kindle version of this book, and reading from digital cover to cover, no where does he offer ANY therapeutic advice for individuals suffering from the psychological ramifications of a pandemic, nor advice for those in the therapy profession to support their patients in the event of a pandemic. It is a how-to book for policy makers and media. So, in my opinion, this book is a weaponized spin on his research – simply put, it is psychological warfare. I do not intend in any way to libel this author, and this is just my own opinion based on reading his book, listening to his interview, reading his interview, and pouring through nearly all of his published research.

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    1. “No where does he offer ANY therapeutic advice for individuals suffering from the psychological ramifications of a pandemic, nor advice for those in the therapy profession to support their patients in the event of a pandemic. It is a how-to book for policy makers and media.”

      As Amazing Polly would say…BOOM!

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  4. I agree, Steph. Are we not experiencing a global gaslighting campaign? Gaslighting is not about empathy or concern for the victim(s). It’s about power and control by sick individuals acting independently, or in concert, who need to feel superior and who manipulate people — or entire cultures — to further their own agendas. At bottom, this is gaslighting (psychological warfare) on an unprecedented scale. Restoring sanity is a worthy goal for the few who can see through the fog and mountains of bullshit (virtual or real).

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    1. Les,
      Not necessarily. There are real victims. Cultures are destroyed. Do we have the ability to restore sanity to those taken in and damaged by perpetual narcissistic lies? Is there a “reverse” on this train? I’m no psychologist, but if we accept insanity as our constant condition, those few with power will gain more power and control and continue to abuse humanity and the planet’s already damaged natural systems. Somehow those who see through the constant lies have a role to play in healing damaged psyches and restoring human dignity.

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      1. Steve,
        The “Wizard of Oz” quote was addressing the taboo of challenging “authority”. I actually agree with all of your points.

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      2. Families have been destroyed. Look at your local commitment report for the last two months. The domestic violence across the country is insane. Hopefully it will make some families bond and become stronger.

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  5. https://www.alternet.org/2020/04/psychologist-explains-why-the-coronavirus-pandemic-is-likely-to-inflict-profound-psychological-effects-for-some-time-to-come/

    I just found this. Here is Taylor featured in an article, in which he purports this new “COVID Stress Syndrome”…Again, this is so highly revealing if you read between the lines. I don’t need to say this to POM regulars…I can’t imagine I am the only one who can see it, right?

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    1. Stephers, I would love to use your take on this book in a blog I am working on. Would you say this is an accurate representation:

      “But there is a problem, The Psychology of Pandemics book is NOT about helping people with anxiety deal with the pandemic — supposedly the author’s area of expertise. Instead, the book is actually focused towards the government and media on using anxiety and fear to control and influence policy. Lo and behold, this is why the author was prophetic. This is the manual which has been used with the COVID pandemic, with the main thrust being how to get the global population to agree to social distance and take a vaccine, while also addressing the numerous conspiracy theories that are likely to arise as the pandemic takes hold in the public’s consciousness.”

      How should that be edited (if at all)? Thanks.

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  6. LOFCAUDIO – I would say you nailed it here. I am grateful you were able to grasp this just from reading my review (and hopefully the supporting pieces I added in the comments). There is an added aspect in the (how-to) book that I did not cover at all, which is how these opportunists are preying on our altruistic nature (at least most of us) to amplify this psyop (ie – reason to vaccinate, social distance and wear masks – to “protect” others and for the “greater good” – you know, how we all have to save “grandma”!). Maybe you should purchase the book? I really don’t want to encourage supporting this author nor amazon with our money, but it may be helpful for you if you are going to represent this book elsewhere – with your name attached…

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    1. “but it may be helpful for you if you are going to represent this book elsewhere – with your name attached…”

      I agree. I do feel confident presenting it in this fashion though. The additional articles about Taylor are helpful as well.

      I am in the midst of an 8-part blog series addressing COVID (which may turn into 9 parts), with the first installment here if anyone is curious (and feels the need to read even more about the mass hysteria):

      https://amindfullofmudpuddles.blogspot.com/2020/04/covid-19-part-one-i-do-not-believe.html

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      1. So, LOFCAUDIO, I checked out your blog series. It’s incredibly insightful and impressive. I hope others will take the time to read each installment. I noticed that you did briefly cover The Psychology of Pandemics – and you were over the target in a number of respects. I can certainly appreciate your humility, or perhaps you found it unnecessary to mention that you had already stumbled upon the book prior to this blog post. So, clearly, we were already on the same page. Regardless, I have yet to find any other researcher (besides us) who covered it. In fact, I see uncanny parallels in both our research and style of writing – except that I am horrible with numbers! I would love to connect with you. I joined your blog site. So hopefully you can email me? I did not see a way to contact y0u through your site. I am interested in picking your brain, and discussing your CV series. I really love the way you critically think and connect dots. I also admire how you check your ego (at the door), and that is very rare these days (although a common trait among the writers here at POM!)…

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        1. Stephers, I will reach out to you. And thanks for catching the typo! (That was you, right?)

          I went back and edited that earlier post to include the book that you alerted me to. I think it is important.

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  7. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/07/life-never-return-normal-coronavirus-shape-generation

    Here is an article in The Guardian authored by Steven Taylor himself. I just found this. I had no idea how prolific and popular he had become. Is it any surprise he would be propped up by the media? This seems highly organized to me. And, as Steve explained above – this is “gaslighting on an unprecedented scale.” Funny, just as Steven Taylor has described himself as being “prophetic”, I suppose I could claim the same (in jest, really). 🙂 I have been working on a treatise, “HAARPing and LARPing: The Gaslighting of Nature and Humanity” for the past two years. The premise is that the rhythm of nature and humanity has been distorted via a technocratic, cryptocratic kakistocracy, and that the digitalization of society is being utilized to create a techno-tyrannical prison. When this scamdemic event began, it was hard to believe how this was playing out, as I could see the LARPing and the gaslighting operation in plain sight – and on this unprecedented scale, as Steve said. I am now seeing how HAARPing comes into play and intersects here as well – but that is for another day to attempt to demonstrate…

    An insightful comment by a reader (of The Guardian article linked above):
    Rhialto woopsgroink 7 Apr 2020
    “I get the impression some of the authors hope things don’t go back to normal. Some people are powerfully drawn to self-pity and catastrophizing.”

    Taylor’s colleague, Dr. Gordon Asmundson, seems to be getting a lot of relevant press as well:

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/covid-survey-first-round-results-1.5541053

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    1. Stephers said, “this seems highly organized to me”. Yes it does, and Taylor’s first words in his guardian article are “I knew a pandemic was coming, but I didn’t think it would be so soon”. He would of course explain that statement differently than I, but it looks certain that he is a player in this event, one who doesn’t even have to know all the details…”I didn’t think it would be so soon”. He also says, “Some of my predictions about coronavirus have proved eerily correct”. No kidding.

      I especially like this statement in the article: “As a result of Covid-19, some people will become fastidious germophobes, striving to avoid touching “contaminated” surfaces or shaking hands. Germ phobias, which are typically symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorders, arise from a combination of genetic and environmental factors”.

      No, of course they won’t become fastidious germaphobes because they have been traumatized by a century and more of fake viruses and fake pandemics, and now being browbeaten with unbelievable amounts of fear propaganda, and made to wear masks and lock their doors and wipe their doorknobs and counters every time they turn around. No, they’ll become germaphobes because they have “obsessive-compulsive disorders”, and from “a combination of genetic and environmental factors”.

      Yes Mr. Taylor, I’m guilty of “conspiratorial thinking”, and I think you are part of it.

      Thank you Stephers for the excellent writeup.

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  8. So basically this guy, Steven Taylor is saying that anyone who denies the existence of a virus and therefore refuses a vaccine is to be considered mentally disturbed and has to go through mandatory medical treatment in a padded room, possibly tied to a bed and with a straight jacket on.

    These people don’t give a damn about people’s emotional problems and I’ve noticed that more and more therapists these days are not there to help people, but they’re the people’s worst enemies.

    Sometimes I think that a lot of psychologists/ psychiatrists are just potential serial killers or at least very frustrated and emotionally disturbed who believe they can treat themselves through their patients’ therapy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Like journalists, on TV here in the US Anna they are portrayed as absolute professionals with rigid standards. In real life they can make up diseases and then vote on them to see if they should be in the DSM5.

      In the TV series Longmire, which I enjoyed, a short-lived character named Dr. Donna Sue Monaghan, supposed to be Walt’s love interest. She was a psychiatrist and was charged with providing antidepressants and stuff to the people on the reservation. Her role was seen as vital, and because she was a rigid professional she studied journals and read papers and inserts before issuing prescriptions, trying to match the right drug to the right person and condition. (Longmire, while a show I liked, was often used to advance public mythologies too.)

      In real life they psychiatrists are visited by beautiful women and handsome men who are PhRMA reps, taken to exclusive locations for conventions and meetings, and loaded with free samples. That’s the extent of the science. They will flip people from one drug to another with no study of half lives or drug interactions. They are quacks, in my opinion.

      There are people out there called “life coaches” who do credible work, as it is about forward movement and not “chemical imbalances” or potty training.

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  9. In the past when I was young, some 60 years ago, vaccination was a once in a lifetime thing. Lately it has become once a year, flu viruses mute and man, after one year, they’re not the same at all anymore. But lo! Corona came and the scientific insight has changed again. We won’t be safe unless THE vaccine has been found, 6 or 12 months after the outbreak, who cares, and everybody’s got their flu-shot.

    People who can’t see that it’s all just 100% bullshit, well, maybe they should have easy access to all the med-care.

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