Jakarta – The Alumni Menteng 64 (AM64), a group of Kolese Kanisius Catholic high school alumni, publicly declared its support for the government's mass vaccination program in Jakarta on Friday.
The group said it was ready to help the government in reaching out to the public and raising public awareness of the importance of taking part in the vaccination drive.
"We are ready to be the government's partner in conducting public campaigns for vaccination," AM64 chairman Irlan Suud said on Friday. "We would try to bring in many elements of society to [raise] awareness that if they want to be healthy in 2021, they need to be ready to be vaccinated."
Such support was vital, Irlan said, considering the significant challenges the government had to deal with to inoculate 181 million people, or about 67 percent of the 269 million-strong population, including how to deliver vaccines to the far-flung regions of the country.
Irlan said the campaign's focus would follow the government's rollout of the vaccines, which will be prioritized for medical workers and public workers before the general public can be inoculated. He emphasized that the dissemination campaign was vital to avoid further resistance from the public to get vaccinated.
"We know there are debates [among the public] about whether the vaccines are halal or about the negative side effects of the vaccines," Irlan said. "We want to set the information straight that the vaccines have been undergoing lengthy clinical trials in order to convince the public against inaccurate information or hoaxes."
He went on to add that medical workers would be among the campaign's first targets, saying that the group aimed to document the vaccination process of the medical workers and spread it through social media in order to convince the public about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
AM64, which supported President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Ma'ruf Amin during the 2019 election campaign, will also host webinars aimed at training "vaccination ambassadors" – who are expected to educate and engage communities at the local and grassroots levels. (mrc)