Goh Meng Seng & S'pore Uncensored issued POFMA order for false statements about Covid-19 vaccination

The posts must carry a correction notice.

Jane Zhang | April 15, 2021, 11:53 AM

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The POFMA office has issued Correction Directions on Facebook posts published by leader and founder of the People's Power Party Goh Meng Seng's page and Goh Meng Seng People's Power Party page on Apr. 2, as well as an article and Facebook post by Singapore Uncensored on Apr. 7.

These posts and article implied that the Covid-19 vaccination had caused or played a significant part in a doctor who suffered a stroke and an 81-year-old man who passed away.

The Correction Directions were issued at the instruction of Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong.

Claimed that Covid-19 vaccination linked to stroke & heart attack deaths

On Apr. 2, Goh's personal Facebook page and Goh Meng Seng People's Power Party page shared the Facebook post of one Bun Ngok Fong, who claimed to be the cousin of an internationally-celebrated doctor in Singapore who had suffered a brain haemorrhage one week after receiving her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

"I reiterate that it is in public interests to make known that there is such potential risk of getting stroke for taking the Pfizer vaccine," Goh wrote.

On Apr. 7, Facebook posts were shared on Goh's personal page and his PPP page, which included a screenshot of a woman who had said that her 81-year-old father had suffered a heart attack and died after receiving his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Goh wrote in his caption, "The risk of sudden heart attack as a result from taking the vaccine is real."

Local website Singapore Uncensored also published an article on Apr. 7, which it then shared on its Facebook page, about the 81-year-old man who died after suffering a heart attack, writing that he "passed away from alleged vaccination complications".

Allegations are false: POFMA

The allegations that the Covid-19 vaccination caused or substantially contributed to the stroke suffered by the doctor or to the heart attack suffered by the 81-year-old man are false, wrote the Ministry of Health (MOH) in an Apr. 15 press release.

"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."

As a result of the Correction Directions ordered to them, Goh Meng Seng's Facebook posts and Singapore Uncensored's article and Facebook post are all required to carry a correction notice alongside their posts.

No credible evidence of increased heart attack or stroke

MOH stated that as of Apr. 14, 2021, there is no credible evidence that the two Covid-19 vaccines, which are currently approved and offered in Singapore — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

On Apr. 4, Mount Elizabeth Hospital had clarified in a Facebook post that the allegations in the Facebook post about the doctor who suffered a stroke were untrue, and that the doctor's family also confirmed that the writer of the post, who claimed to be the doctor's cousin, was not actually related to them.

The medical team caring for the doctor assessed that the doctor's current condition is "highly unlikely" to be related to the vaccination, wrote MOH.

In addition, the ministry stated that the cause of death for the 81-year-old man was ischaemic heart disease, which is lack of blood circulation to the heart muscles.

"There was extensive narrowing of the three main blood vessels supplying blood to the muscles of the heart due to atherosclerosis (build up of plaques over time in the blood vessels that obstruct blood flow)."

Health Sciences Authority (HSA) Forensic Medicine Division reported that based on post-mortem, there was no evidence of acute anaphylaxis or an allergic reaction at the injection site of the Covid-19 vaccine.

MOH wrote:

"Covid-19 vaccines that are used in Singapore have been assessed to be safe and efficacious by both the HSA and the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination.

Medical teams are well-equipped and measures are in place at all vaccination sites to ensure the safety of vaccine recipients pre-, during, and post-vaccination."

"All vaccine-related incidents are taken seriously and healthcare professionals are required to report these incidents expediently to the Ministry of Health and HSA," said the ministry.

MOH advised members of the public to not speculate or spread unfounded rumours, and to visit the MOH website for the latest information on Covid-19 and vaccinations.

Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme

In a Factually post on Thursday (Apr. 15), MOH also reminded individuals that the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme for Covid-19 Vaccination (VIFAP) provides one-time goodwill financial assistance to people who experience serious side effects that are assessed to be related to Covid-19 vaccine administered in Singapore.

To apply for VIFAP, individuals need to submit an application accompanied by medical information on the serious side effect from their treating doctor.

MOH said, "As the severity of serious side effects can be broad-ranging and the clinical assessment by doctors may vary, all VIFAP applications will be assessed and adjudicated by a MOH-appointed independent clinical panel comprising experts in relevant fields such as neurology, immunology, and infectious diseases"

The VIFAP is not meant to reimburse medical costs, but rather to provide an additional layer on financial support, on top of the existing government healthcare financing schemes for medical costs incurred, such as government subsidies, MediShield Life, MediSave, and MediFund.

Anyone who requires assistance with their medical bill can contact the social worker at their healthcare institution.

Top photos via Goh Meng Seng and Goh Meng Seng People's Power Party Facebook pages.