SBS — Among the first in the line for coronavirus vaccines in Indonesia has been one conspicuous group — social media influencers.
Television personalist Raffi Ahmad, who boasts almost 50 million followers on Instagram, was next to President Joko Widodo as the world's fourth most populous country kicked off its vaccination drive last week.
“Alhamdulillah [Praise be to God] a vaccine ... Don’t be afraid of vaccines,” the 33-year-old celebrity wrote under a video of him receiving the shot, next to a heart emoji and another of Indonesia’s red and white flag.
Deciding who should be first in line for limited vaccine doses has been a challenge around the world, with many countries prioritizing vulnerable medics and the elderly.
Senior health ministry official Siti Nadia Tarmiz, said the decision to include influencers alongside almost 1.5 million healthcare workers in the first round of inoculations was a deliberate government communications strategy.
Oh wow this is a tough one. My brain is not equipped to handle dueling opinions at this moment. Considering my normal brain is like the average person's Quarantine Brain, my Quarantine Brain is the tiniest little step above "functioning." The Cognitive dissonance is extra dissonance-d, so bear with me. Here's what we've got:
On the one hand, there is a lot of fear and anxiety surrounding the vaccine, and it's not just the looney-tunes anti-vaxxers. Perfectly reasonable people who maybe read an article, who saw the allergic reactions and the old people dropping dead. So you want to have as big of a reach as possible, spread it far and wide that the vaccine is totally safe, quick and easy. Who is in a prime position (like it or not, it's just the reality we live in) to influence the most impressionable minds among us all over the world? Influencers, unfortunately.
Especially in Indonesia — top of the list when it comes to social media global users, way down at 37% for "people who are willing to be vaccinated."
Indonesians are among the top global users of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The health ministry did not say how many influencers would be first in the vaccine line, but others due to receive a shot on Thursday included musicians Ariel, of the band Noah, and Risa Saraswati.
Ahyani Raksanagara, head of Bandung’s health agency, told Reuters the artists would “hopefully convey positive influence and messages” about the vaccines, and especially to young people.
37%! 40% "would consider it."
17% flat out refuse. You're gonna need at least 1 Kardashian for them I think.
But then there's the other hand that is subconsciously balling up into a fist right now. Thinking about the fuckin' Twinfluencers from last Friday showing up to get the vaccine before anyone else.
Like on club night when everybody is standing in line, waiting their turn, until they're no longer at max capacity — then the twin douchebags show up and waltz up to the front, getting dirty glares from everyone and the drunkest girl in line yelling at them, and you watch the bouncer just pop the little rope off the little hook and in they go. Max capacity doesn't apply to Twinfluencers.
Just thinking about Influencer lives being prioritized over…anyone, literally absolutely anyone is infuriating. But that's the world. Who run the world? Influencers.
Oh, so those are the two dueling opinions I have. What wins out? My desire for the people of Indonesia to be Influenced into getting vaccinated? Or my sheer disgust and borderline hatred of people with the job title of Influencer? Or, can I hang on to both — As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function”.
The disgust. The disgust is the answer, disgust and hatred side won, it's not even close, it never was, at any point. Never ever.
When I feel extra angry I type Influencer into the search bar and skim through all the blogs we've posted over the years. It's like exposure therapy, just dive head first into Hell itself and see if you come out the other side.