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29 Nov 2021

29th Nov 2021

There are false and misleading statements about COVID-19 vaccines contained in a blog post by Cheah Kit Sun titled ‘Do Not Participate In A Society that Rejects You’, published on Wednesday, 20 October 2021 on various online locations, which was shared by Goh Meng Seng on Facebook (20 October 2021). It is important to correct these falsehoods, especially given the ongoing vaccine booster exercise.

2. The Minister for Health has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office to issue Correction Directions to Cheah Kit Sun and Goh Meng Seng for spreading those falsehoods. Cheah and Goh are required to publish the correction notices as specified by POFMA Office for each webpage and social media post containing the falsehoods.

Corrections and clarifications on falsehoods regarding content about COVID-19 vaccines in a blog post by Cheah Kit Sun 

3. In particular, the blog post misleads people into thinking that the COVID vaccines are the most dangerous developed recently as they have caused a substantially higher rate of death and serious injury compared to all other vaccines over the last 10 years.

4. These claims are false. COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Singapore are safe. They have been assessed to be safe and effective internationally by reputable health and scientific agencies, and in Singapore by both the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and the Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination (EC19V). As of 31 October 2021, the serious adverse event incidence rate reported by healthcare professionals to HSA is 0.006% of total doses administered. Thus far, no deaths have been attributed to the COVID-19 vaccines. The benefits of receiving COVID-19 vaccines continue to far outweigh the risks of vaccination.

5. The United States’ Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)1 data do not support the claim that COVID-19 vaccines have caused a substantially higher rate of serious injury and death.

6. First, COVID-19 vaccines have been given to a very large proportion of the US population in 2021, while the other vaccines have been given to substantially fewer individuals in any given year. Thus, it is misleading to compare the absolute number of reported adverse events and deaths for COVID-19 and non-COVID vaccines.

7. Second, there is much higher surveillance and awareness of adverse event reporting for COVID-19 vaccines, compared with other vaccines. 

8. Third,  any member of the public may report adverse events and deaths to the VAERS system, regardless whether it is caused by vaccines or other factors. The reports are not required to be verified. They often lack details and sometimes contain errors. No proof is required that the adverse event or death was caused by the vaccine. And adverse events need not be serious; they include mild side effects such as rash/cold/headaches.

9. The post has been written to falsely exaggerate the dangers of COVID-19 vaccines, and to discourage people from taking them. If people believe these falsehoods, there could be serious health consequences for those who then remain unvaccinated. As stated earlier, the evidence so far is that serious adverse events have been reported in only 0.006% of total doses administered.

10. For facts of the case, please refer to the Factually article “Corrections and Clarifications regarding content about COVID-19 vaccines in a blog post by Cheah Kit Sun at https://www.gov.sg/article/factually291121”.

11. MOH advises the public not to speculate and/or spread misinformation which may cause public alarm, and to refer to credible sources of information instead. Please visit www.moh.gov.sg for the latest information on COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations. For vaccine SAE statistics, please refer to HSA and its Safety Updates published monthly. 

[1] The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is co-managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA).