KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — Up to one million frontliners and high-risk population groups in Malaysia will be vaccinated against Covid-19 next month, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
The New Sunday Times reported him as saying that this will be the first phase of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine once it arrives in Malaysia, with the second phase to take place in April or May.
Members of high-risk groups include those with non-communicable diseases such as heart, lung and kidney ailments, and diabetes.
“The government will provide the vaccines for free, with a target of 80 per cent of the population or 26 million people,” he said after attending a Wanita Umno meeting in Bandar Tenggara, Johor, yesterday.
The second phase will see approximately 6.2 million doses of the vaccine arriving which will be deployed accordingly.
Separately, the minister said the government is not planning to reopen national borders anytime soon, given the high global Covid-19 infection rate.
“It is not time for Malaysia to reopen its borders and allow foreign tourists to enter, with cases peaking worldwide.
“It will take some time before Malaysia is able to flatten the curve, since we have just started enforcing the extension of the recovery movement control order,” he said.
Dr Adham added the ministry is anticipating an increase in the number of cases in the wake of active tracing among foreign workers at construction sites and factories throughout the country.
Compulsory screening for foreign workers began on Friday (January 1).
“The screenings will involve 800,000 foreign workers in the Federal Territories, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Penang and Sabah.
“From August until December 31, 70,000 foreign workers underwent screening,” he said.