Pofma correction direction issued to Truth Warriors website over Covid-19 false claims

MOH urged members of the public to visit its website for the latest information on Covid-19.
MOH urged members of the public to visit its website for the latest information on Covid-19.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) has invoked Singapore's fake news law against a local website for false claims about the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, and the safety and efficacy of ivermectin in preventing and treating Covid-19.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office to issue a correction direction to the Truth Warriors website, MOH said on Sunday (Oct 24).

This means the website is required to publish the correction notice at the top of each webpage containing the falsehoods.

Among the false claims that have to carry the notice are that vaccinated countries have the most cases and deaths per million population, and the least vaccinated countries have the fewest cases and deaths per million population.

The website has also stated that vaccines do not prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"These claims are false," said MOH. "As of October 23, the weight of international evidence shows categorically that vaccines reduce Covid-19 infection, as well as serious illness and mortality rates from Covid-19 infection."

Latest available data also does not support the claim that countries with the highest vaccination rates have the highest cases and deaths per million population, said the ministry.

Instead, that some countries with the lowest vaccination rates also have low reported Covid-19 deaths is likely due to poor record collection for both vaccinations and deaths, said MOH.

And while the vaccines do not completely stop viral transmission, they do reduce the risk of transmission, as vaccinated persons are less likely to transmit the virus than an unvaccinated person, it added.

It is also false to suggest that the vaccine does not boost the immune system in its fight against the virus, said MOH.

"The vaccines cause the body to produce antibodies and immune cells that act against the virus and, in effect, kill it," it said.

MOH also debunked claims made by the website about the effectiveness of ivermectin in preventing Covid-19 infection, and that the medication is safe and effective for use against the virus, even by pregnant women.

The website's claims have been cited and circulated by some here to promote the use of ivermectin in preventing and treating Covid-19.

"Ivermectin is a prescription-only medicine registered in Singapore specifically for the treatment of parasitic worm infections," said the ministry.

"It is not an anti-viral medicine and is not approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for preventing or treating Covid-19."

MOH urged members of the public to visit its website for the latest information on Covid-19. Vaccine serious adverse event statistics are published by the HSA in monthly safety updates, and information about ivermectin can be found on the authority's website.