Indonesian celebrity’s party blunder sparks criticism over vaccine campaign


The Indonesian government’s strategy to promote coronavirus vaccination is under fire after an influencer who received a vaccine jab last week was spotted violating health guidelines just a few hours later.

Indonesia started the nationwide vaccination drive on Wednesday to inoculate 181 million of its 276 million people after the national drug regulator authorized the emergency use of the Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech and the country’s highest authority on Islamic affairs approved it as halal, or permissible under Islamic law.

President Joko Widodo, who was the first Indonesian to receive the vaccine, described the campaign as a “game-changer,” amid hopes that achieving herd immunity would help to revive the economy, which has been reeling from the pandemic.

Alongside officials and religious leaders, 33-year-old soap opera star Raffi Ahmad also received the jab. Government strategists hoped he would promote vaccine acceptance with his huge social media presence of some 50 million followers on Instagram and 19 million on YouTube.

However, soon after receiving his shot Ahmad was photographed at a party, without a face mask, and violating social distancing measures imposed by the government to contain the virus sprea