Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says a “realistic target” for the reopening of Malaysia’s borders would be early in the second quarter of the year.
He said Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had given the health ministry two weeks to prepare guidelines for the border reopening.
However, this did not mean the borders would be reopened in two weeks, he said, adding that the matter needs discussions at several levels.
Khairy said the guidelines would first need to be presented to the Covid-19 Pandemic Management Committee, chaired by the prime minister, as well as the Covid-19 Quartet Ministers, before being brought to the Cabinet.
“And that is why a huge decision like this cannot be made at the health ministry level as this is a major policy.
“I expect early in the second quarter of the year as a realistic target, but let the prime minister decide on this,” he told reporters after an event in Batu Pahat yesterday.
On US health regulators delaying the review of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children under five after its two-dose regimen was found not to be working well against the Omicron variant, Khairy said technical working groups were regularly advising the health ministry on vaccine suitability.
“We have two processes: one is approval by the regulatory body which is the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency, the other is views from expert groups.
“The expert groups are now looking at data of the vaccine for children below five, and there are no recommendations to the health ministry so far,” he said.
It was reported that the US Food and Drug Administration needed more data on the vaccine, delaying its decision for using it in children six months to four years of age for at least two months.