The number of people gathering at Denpasar’s vaccination centers is hard to predict and has largely exceeded expectations, the COVID-19 Task Force in Bali said, reasoning that despite the risks, the more people are getting their COVID jabs can only be a good thing.
“[We must] differentiate between crowds that have a bad impact and crowds that have a good impact. These crowds are beyond our expectations [but the intention is to] offer protection from COVID-19,” I Dewa Nyoman Rai Dharmadi, Head of Law Enforcement and Discipline on the COVID-19 Task Force in Bali, said this week.
Various clips posted on social media have circulated widely, depicting scenes at various vaccination venues in recent days, including the Nari Rahana Renon Building and Wantilan DPRD Bali, both in Denpasar.
While getting vaccinated is certainly important, the crowds forming at vaccination sites like these pose a reason for concern as they may contribute to higher transmissions of the coronavirus. Most of the programs that attract such large crowds appear to accept walk-ins, wherein people line up as early as possible to get their numbers for the day’s vaccination quota.
Dharmadi said that officials have tried spreading the programs at various locations to control the crowds and that authorities are always stationed to remind people to observe health protocols. However, these measures are evidently still not enough.
“We are pushing for this vaccination to be accelerated and expanded. But the public must control themselves, if they receive a high queue number, they should go home or take a seat somewhere farther. Don’t make crowds, that’s what we ought to tell them,” Dharmadi said.
The province has been reporting record-breaking daily new infections, including today’s 843 new cases — the highest number yet throughout the pandemic.
As of July 12, nearly 2.8 million people in Bali have received their first COVID jab, while around 771,000 are now fully inoculated.