Why are influencers in Indonesia the first to get vaccinated against the coronavirus?

Why are influencers in Indonesia the first to get vaccinated against the coronavirus?

Television stars, musicians and people popular on social media will be among the first to receive the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine. This is a deliberate strategy of the Indonesian government, whose inhabitants are sceptical about vaccination.

Television celebrity Raffi Ahmad took the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, posing under a banner that reads "Vaccine - Safe and Halal." The actor and singer are extremely popular in over 270 million Indonesia and is followed by 50 million fans on Instagram.

 

The list of people who, along with 1.5 million health care workers, are to receive the first doses of the vaccine, there are also other famous musicians, incl. Risa Saraswati and one of the members of the pop-rock band Noah.

The health ministry has not released the exact number of celebrities that will be vaccinated but has confirmed that listing them is part of the government's communication strategy.

While Indonesia is the hardest-hit country in Southeast Asia, its citizens are reluctant to launch this week's immunization program. There are concerns that overseas vaccines produced may not be halal (made in line with Muslim religious laws).

According to a poll conducted in December, only 37% Indonesians were ready to undergo vaccination, 40% considered such a step, and 17% declared that it would not agree to it. Indonesia's most important religious council last Friday formally recognized the vaccine as halal.

On Wednesday, President Joko Widodo was the first person in the country to receive CoronaVac from Beijing's Sinovac Biotech. The procedure, performed at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, was broadcast live on TV. "Vaccination against Covid-19 is important to break the chain of infections and keep all Indonesians healthy, safe and protected," he said after the vaccination. He added that mass vaccination will also help repair the economy.

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, has the most infections in the region. Nearly 860 thousand people were detected there. coronavirus infections and 25 thousand. deaths due to Covid-19. The local media has been reporting for months about the difficulties with finding places for burial in cemeteries much larger than the estimated number of dead.

Tomasz Augustyniak (PAP)