Orang Asli communities take advantage of mobile centres to get vaccinated

Orang Asli communities take advantage of mobile centres to get vaccinated

DENGKIL: In her excitement to be vaccinated against Covid-19, single mother Sela@Paya Akaw brought her five children along with her to the mobile vaccination centre for the Orang Asli community at Balai Raya Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Buah here so that they too could be vaccinated.

Sela, 48, who works as a cleaner, and her children, aged 21 to 28, came as early as 9 am for their Sinovac jabs at the mobile centre.

ADVERTISEMENT“I am happy because after being jabbed (with the vaccine), we can avoid the disease (Covid-19) and I feel a lot more confident to work.

“I always encourage my children to be vaccinated because I know it’s good for us,” she told Bernama yesterday.

P. Kumarasan, 47, who showed up with his wife and brother-in-law, said he had hoped that more Orang Asli would get vaccinated.

“We should get vaccinated, don’t be afraid, be brave. Thanks to the government for the vaccine,” said the man who married his Orang Asli wife more than 20 years ago.

The Tok Batin of Kampung Sungai Buah, Juli Belat expressed his disappointment that many Orang Asli still refused to be vaccinated.

The elder, who administrates Kampung Sungai Buah Dalam and Kampung Bukit Tunggul, said out of 231 individuals who had vaccination appointments, only 106 showed up yesterday.

He said that at an earlier stage, fewer than 20 people agreed to be vaccinated, with the rest of them giving excuses that they were afraid and did not understand the importance of the Covid-19 vaccine.

He expressed hope that a Health Ministry representative could come to the Orang Asli village to explain about the vaccination and dismiss all doubts.

Meanwhile, Sepang Orang Asli Development Department officer Mohamed Rasaki Abdul Majid said that based on the vaccination feedback forms distributed among the Orang Asli community, many still reject the vaccine as they do not understand its importance.

Based on the summary of vaccination registration forms, he said out of 2,740 Orang Asli in Sepang district aged 18 and above who are eligible for vaccination, only 879 people agreed while 1,861 disagreed.

“This means currently only 32.1 per cent have agreed to be vaccinated. It involves 18 Orang Asli villages in Sepang district,” he said, adding that the department would intensify efforts to encourage the Orang Asli community to be vaccinated through various media, including the Village Development and Security committees.

Dengkil assemblyman Adhif Syan Abdullah, who had also conducted a vaccination survey, said the Orang Asli community could receive their vaccinations via walk-in at mobile vaccination centres and register manually.

“The vaccination programme for the Orang Asli community will continue throughout this week with visits to every Orang Asli village in the Sepang district,” he said. –Bernama