It’s only the beginning of January, but I think we can go ahead and hand out the 2022 Irony Award now: a German man is hoping to encourage his vaccine-hesitant countrymen to get jabbed by … herding a flock of sheep into the shape of a giant syringe.

Event organizer Hanspeter Etzold is a professional team builder who hails from the northern German town of Schneverdingen. He’s a sheep enthusiast who regularly employs the animals in his corporate training sessions. “Sheep are popular with people and carry positive emotional connotations,” Etzold told Reuters, ignoring the more common connotation of sheep as mindless followers. “So perhaps they can reach many people emotionally when logic and scientific reasoning don’t do the job.”

Also involved in Monday’s muttony spectacle was shepherd Wiebke Schmidt-Kochan, who spent several days practicing with 700 sheep and a few goats before the big event. Schmidt-Kochan ultimately coaxed the animals into formation by laying out tasty bits of bread in the shape of a giant 100-meter-long syringe, then releasing the flock onto the field where they obediently lined up to nibble the snacks.

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Over a quarter of Germans have failed to get pricked twice and are therefore not considered vaccinated, and nearly two-thirds remain un-boostered. The German government isn’t happy with the lack of compliance and has been making life hard for its citizens, repeatedly shutting down businesses, restricting the size of gatherings, prohibiting New Year’s fireworks, and even banning dancing in nightclubs. The filthy unvax face even harsher restrictions but, in light of the omicron variant’s high transmissibility, vaccinated and unvax alike are facing new measures. This tacit admission by the government that the controversial vaccine doesn’t reliably prevent COVID-19 infections makes one wonder why they keep pushing the shots so hard.

But pushing they are, and Etzold was excited to help the effort. “Sheep are such likeable animals — maybe they can get the message over better,” he reasoned. He apparently hopes the herd mentality will carry over to Germany’s shot holdouts.

In reality, the German sheep syringe is exactly the kind of gesture that will be scorned by skeptics as well as those who support both the controversial vaccine and freedom of choice whether to get pricked. The sheer number of people who uncritically accept the constantly changing directives from their betters and inject themselves with a novel anti-viral therapy that hasn’t been tested over a meaningful period of time is mind-boggling to free thinkers. Using actual sheep to try to convince them to go with the flow is possibly the least self-aware gimmick Big COVID has come up with yet.

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