Orang Asli community receptive to inoculation programme

ISKANDAR PUTERI: A total of 74,096 Orang Asli nationwide have been fully inoculated under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).

This number accounted for 43% of those from the community who were aged 18 and above, said Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) director-general Sapiah Mohd Nor.

“As of Friday, 104,481 people from the Orang Asli communities received one dose of the vaccine.

“Besides the adult population, we are also focusing on Orang Asli teenagers. A total of 27,975 of them (aged between 12 and 17) are eligible for the vaccination,” she told reporters after visiting the Kampung Orang Asli Simpang Arang vaccination programme here yesterday.

Sapiah said that feedback from the community had been positive so far 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 personally as an Orang Asli, I believe that continuous support and awareness play a crucial role in convincing them to come forward and get themselves vaccinated,” she said.

She noted that a minority declined the vaccines upon hearing fake news.

In Johor, Sapiah said that 4,638 Orang Asli in the state had been fully vaccinated from the total of 11,884 adult members of the community.

“A total of 871 Orang Asli have also been tested positive with the majority of them from Johor Baru,” she said, adding that 10 deaths had also been recorded involving the community.

She said that the Orang Asli community outreach vaccination programme started in early June under the Rural Development Ministry, in collaboration with Jakoa, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force, 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 left out in the government’s PICK initiative and they are protected from the pandemic,” she said.

Sapiah added that the government had allocated RM1.6mil for the Orang Asli food basket programme.

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