MIRI (Feb 22): The Penan community in Telang Usan constituency will not be asked to come down to Miri or Marudi to get their Covid-19 vaccination, said Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau.
Instead, Dennis said an arrangement will be made to bring the Covid-19 vaccine to them,
He said this matter has been discussed with the relevant agencies to enable the Penans, one of the minorities in the state to be able to receive their vaccination when their turn comes.
“We will bring the vaccine to the nearest clinic as possible so as to enable each and every Penan, in particular in my constituency to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Of course, this will be done in stages,” he said said when contacted today.
Dennis pointed that the government has identified three clinics where the vaccine will be sent in Telang Usan constituency. The three clinics are Long Lama clinic, Long Bedian clinic and Long San clinic.
When asked on whether the Penans are well-informed of the vaccine, Dennis said he has been in communication with the community leaders explaining to them on the vaccine and the importance of taking it.
He had also told the doctors and medical assistants (MAs) in Long Lama clinic and other clinics at the various longhouses in Telang Usan to relay the correct message about the vaccination programme to the communities to avoid any confusion or misinformation about the vaccine.
“There seems to be an effort by certain individuals in wanting to create panic and instill fear among the communities especially among the Penans by saying that the vaccines will bring no good to them,” he claimed.
Dennis said there are 30 Penan villages in his constituency with an estimated population of 15,000.
Meanwhile, Penan Empowerment Networking Association (PENA) chairperson Elia Bit wants the state government to double their efforts in reaching out to the Penans who are mostly living in the most remote area in Baram about the vaccine.
She lamented that telecommunication issue is one of the major setbacks in disseminating the correct information to the communities in rural areas.
“There is still time to disseminate the correct information about this vaccination programme to the rural people especially the Penans. One of the ways is to quickly improve the telecommunication issues because this is one of the fastest mean in reaching out to the communities in rural areas.
“With good telecommunication, the people in rural areas will also have access to the latest information not only about the vaccine but also also the virus,” she said.