THE Orang Asli community hopes to get more information on the Covid-19 vaccine before deciding on whether to take it.
Those interviewed said its people were eager to learn more about the vaccine, including its side effects and the costs incurred, if any.
Yahya Yok Perukas, 26, from Pos Jernang in Sungkai, Perak said the community faced a lack of information regarding the vaccine.
“Some Orang Asli might decline to take the vaccine if they fail to get any information.
“They need to know as well about the side effects of taking the vaccine.
“If all our questions can be answered, we are ready to take it, ” he said, hoping the vaccine would not be expensive if it was not going to be free.
In November last year, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government had purchased 12.8 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for 20% of the population.
MCA Youth chief Datuk Nicole Wong, meanwhile, said the government should provide the vaccine to every Malaysian free of charge, as it was the government’s responsibility to look after the health and safety of the people.
Jeffry Hassan, 33, from Pos Lanai, Kuala Lipis in Pahang, said the Orang Asli’s perception towards modern medicine had changed over the years.
He said as far as he was concerned, those in his area would welcome the vaccine.
“We would appreciate it if we could be briefed on the side effects and cost.
“Although no one from our village has been infected, we still look forward to receiving the vaccine, ” he added.
Another Orang Asli, who wished to be known only as Mali, from Simpang Pulai, Perak hoped the vaccine would be available for his village.
“Although we have no Covid-19 cases in the village, we still receive regular visits from volunteers and donors who bring food and clothing for us.
“I appreciate their help but I worry about the safety of the villagers.
“The volunteers wear masks, but these days we need to be extra careful, ” he said.
Kumpulan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa) field officer Shazni Bhai said it was crucial that the Orang Asli be kept in the loop about the vaccine.
“Some still fear modern medicine, while others are ready to receive the vaccination.
“The community must be provided with clear information, ” he added.
Health-wise, Perak and Kedah Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) director Harulnizam Abd Rahman said the department provided the community with any assistance they required.
Among the items, he said, were wheelchair and milk.
“We, however, do not provide them with medical supplies as that is the responsibility of the Health Department, ” he added.
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