POFMA correction directions issued to Goh Meng Seng, Singapore Uncensored over COVID-19 vaccination falsehoods

POFMA correction directions issued to Goh Meng Seng, Singapore Uncensored over COVID-19 vaccination falsehoods

Goh Meng Seng POFMA Facebook post
A screenshot of Goh Meng Seng People's Power Party's Facebook post with a correction notice, as seen on Apr 15, 2021.

SINGAPORE: Correction directions have been issued to opposition politician Goh Meng Seng and alternative news site Singapore Uncensored over false statements linking COVID-19 vaccination to stroke and heart attack.

The directions, issued under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), require them to carry a correction notice alongside their posts, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (Apr 15).  

These are the first POFMA correction orders issued since July last year.

The order covers posts published on the Facebook pages of Mr Goh, the founder of People's Power Party, on Apr 2 and Apr 7, as well as an article by Singapore Uncensored that was published on its website and Facebook page on Apr 7.

READ: 81-year-old man died of heart disease, not COVID-19 vaccination complications: MOH

IN FOCUS: Has POFMA been effective? A look at the fake news law, 1 year since it kicked in

“There are also third parties who have exploited the sharing of personal experiences by individuals, by reposting these personal accounts and making unsubstantiated claims about vaccine-related adverse reactions. They often continue to do so despite the original posts being removed or made private,” said MOH.

Mr Goh had published posts on two Facebook pages linking COVID-19 vaccination to a stroke suffered by a doctor and the death of an 81-year-old man.

Singapore Uncensored published an article on its website, which it shared on its Facebook page, stating that an 81-year-old man died from vaccination complications.

Both Mr Goh and Singapore Uncensored have complied with the correction directions and published correction notices on Thursday morning. 

MOH said the allegations are false and there is "no credible evidence" for an increased risk of heart attack or stroke with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, both of which have been approved for use in Singapore.

“The medical team caring for the doctor has assessed that the doctor’s current condition is highly unlikely to be related to the COVID-19 vaccination, and Mount Elizabeth Hospital had issued a clarification on Apr 4, 2021,” the ministry said.

The cause of death of the 81-year-old man was ischaemic heart disease, which is a lack of blood circulation to the heart muscles, it said.

READ: Correction directions issued over claims of Singaporeans contracting coronavirus, shortage of masks

READ: POFMA temporary exemptions to be lifted, move 'critical' given evolving coronavirus situation: MCI

COVID-19 vaccines that are used in Singapore have been assessed to be safe and efficacious by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination, said MOH.

Medical teams at vaccination sites are well-equipped and measures are in place to ensure the safety of vaccine recipients, it added. 

"All vaccine-related incidents are taken seriously and healthcare professionals are required to report these incidents expediently to the MOH and HSA."

The ministry advised the public not to speculate or spread unfounded rumours and to refer to its website for the latest information on COVID-19 and vaccinations.

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Source: CNA/zl(cy)

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