KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 — The Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) will set up a task force to encourage the Orang Asli community to participate in the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids).

Rural Development Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Mohamad said the task force would involve the Health Ministry (MoH), the Ministry of Education and relevant government agencies.

“For logistical purposes, Jakoa will continue to cooperate with the Fire and Rescue Department and the Malaysian Armed Forces for helicopter assistance to get to the interior areas.

“This task force will be mobilised immediately following MOH’s announcement that the final day for children to receive the first vaccine dose is May 15,” he told reporters after officiating Jakoa 2021 and 2021 Service Award Ceremony here today.

According to him, as of April 14, only 3,602 individuals (12 per cent) out of the total 29,951 Orang Asli children population have received their vaccination, with Perak contributing the highest number.

The poor response was because parents were concerned over vaccine side effects, in addition, the settlements are located in rural areas and the settlers are not aware of the importance of vaccines for children

“However, the Orang Asli community had never rejected the vaccination programme conducted by the government and this is proven from the percentage of adults who have been vaccinated which had exceeded the national target,” he said.

At the event Abdul Rahman presented prizes in the form of the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN-i) worth RM1,000 and certificates of appreciation to 85 Jakoa officers and staff.

The ceremony was also held to honour 13 retirees who each received SSPN-i worth RM400 and a certificate of appreciation. — Bernama