UDUPI: The Udupi district administration has decided to reach out to members of the Koraga tribal community and vaccinate them against Covid-19. Already, 30 per cent of the Koragas aged 18 and above have been vaccinated in the district and the Integrated Tribal Development Programme (ITDP) officials have written to the Health Department to arrange special vaccination drives at more Koraga settlements to increase the vaccination coverage.
The population of Koragas in Udupi district is 11,331 and 9,849 of them are above the age of 18. Traditionally employed as basket weavers, Koragas were deprived of education and other facilities for decades. However, a lot of outreach programmes have been successful in providing them with basic needs. As per initial estimates, there are about 1,322 Koraga families in the district living in their settlements spread across 34 sites.
Kumaradas, a Koraga community leader, said that infrastructure available near their haadis (tribal settlements) like community halls, anganwadis and schools have been earmarked to set up vaccination centres and health officials have assured them of conducting special drives for them. “Koragas are ready to take the jab, though there were hesitant initially to get tested for Covid-19,” he said.
Doodpeer, project officer, ITDP, Udupi district, told The New Indian Express that vaccination camps are planned at Koraga settlements in Manchikodi, Amparu, Siddapur, Keradi, Jadkal, Mundkoor and Hebri, among others. “In some places, vaccination drive has already been held and more places will be covered in the coming weeks,” he said.