KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — With only 18.9 per cent or 27,276 individuals from 144,180 Orang Asli aged 18 and above registered for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) is pooling all resources to make PICK a success among the indigenous community.
Towards this end, Jakoa is planning various initiatives to disseminate information on vaccination to the community including those who are still leading a nomadic way of life.
“Among the initiatives include providing information via Tok Batin and Orang Asli Village Development and Security Committee chairman in the attempt to coax more members of the community (to receive vaccine shot),” said Jakoa in an email reply to Bernama yesterday.
To date, 4,395 Orang Asli had received one dose of the vaccine while 1,500 people have completed two vaccine doses.
The role of the Jakoa Covid-19 Taskforce was also to ensure accurate information on vaccination is delivered to the Orang Asli community effectively.
To facilitate them, selected Orang Asli villages were made vaccination centres (PPV) apart from mobile immunisation registration programme being held during contribution or food basket presentation events.
In Johor, Jakoa embarked on a strategy of vaccination Orang Asli community leaders to build confidence among other villagers to receive Covid-19 vaccine.
Johor Agriculture, Agro-based and Rural Development Committee chairman, Datuk Samsolbari Jamali said the strategy succeeded as 2,314 individuals or 19.8 per cent of the 11,670 eligible members of the community agreed to get vaccinated.
There are 16,232 Orang Asli from the Jakun, Kuala, Seletar, Kanaq and Temuan tribes in 60 Orang Asli villages in Johor.
“We expect the vaccination registration of Orang Asli in Johor would be settled by the end of next month to achieve herd immunity and contain the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
In Pahang, two Tok Batin, Pigi Amau and Tosi Ayin have mobilised efforts to register as vaccine recipients by getting the shots themselves first yesterday.
“The process is quick and there is no pain. I hope all my fellow villagers need not worry about getting vaccinated and there are any doubts, come to my house and look at me,” said Pigi who is from Kampung Chuat in Bera.
Pigi, 65, was the first individual from 200 members of the Semelai tribe in the village to be vaccinated.
Sharing the same experience was Tosi, 60, who is the Tok Batin in Pos Iskandar also in Bera who wants his village friends to do so as some are still afraid to register.
Tosi of the Semelai tribe was among 20 Orang Asli individuals selected to receive the vaccine jabs yesterday.
In Selangor, Orang Asli Islamic Welfare and Management Association chairman (PKPIOA) Norazman Jamalim said the roles of local leaders especially Tok Batin are very important to disseminate vaccination information as they still have problems accessing the internet apart from the difficulties faced by senior citizens on using smartphones.
Selangor Health director, Datuk Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman said so far, 14,301 Orang Asli in the state are eligible to receive Covid-19 vaccine in five districts.