Covid-19: Almost 45% of eligible Orang Asli fully vaccinated, says Jakoa DG

Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) director-general Sapiah Mohd Nor (right) speaking to a vaccine recipient at the Kampung Orang Asli Simpang Arang vaccination programme, Gelang Patah, Johor on Saturday (Sept 25). — THOMAS YONG/The Star

GELANG PATAH: Some 74,096 members of the Orang Asli community nationwide have been fully vaccinated under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, says Sapiah Mohd Nor.

The Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) director-general said that the number accounted for 43% of the 144,180 Orang Asli who are eligible to receive the vaccine (those aged 18 years old and above).

“As of Friday (Sept 24), a total of 104,481 Orang Asli communities have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

“Besides the adult population, we are also focusing on the vaccination effort for Orang Asli teenagers where a total of 27,975 of them (aged from 12 to 17 years old) are eligible for vaccination,” she said.

She was met by reporters after visiting the Kampung Orang Asli Simpang Arang vaccination programme here on Saturday (Sept 25).

Sapiah also shared that so far the feedback from the Orang Asli community has been positive and the vaccination process has been running smoothly.

“The majority of the Orang Asli community are living in the outskirts of town where sometimes the right information could take time to reach them.

“But, as an Orang Asli myself, I believe that continuous support and awareness plays a crucial role in convincing them to come forward and get themselves vaccinated,” she said, adding that there were minority cases where some communities refused the vaccines after hearing fake news.

She added that the Orang Asli community outreach vaccination programme had started in early June this year under the Rural Development Ministry, in collaboration with Jakoa, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF), Health Ministry and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.

“We have also recently worked together with the Housing and Local Government Ministry in sending vaccines to Orang Asli villages that are located deep in the rural areas.

“This is important in ensuring that the community is not being left out in the government's Covid-19 vaccination initiative and protecting them from the ongoing pandemic,” she said.

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