Singapore—Associate Professor David Lye, director of the Infectious Disease Research and Training Office at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, published a post on Facebook on Monday (June 7), asking Singaporeans to be vigilant about fake science on social media.
Dr Lye’s post on the dangers of “fake science and anti-vaccine groups” has gone viral, with almost 900 shares.
He wrote that his post was to correct misinformation on Covid vaccines, which he asked people to “feel free to share widely.”
Dr Lye wrote that there has been recent misinformation regarding the pandemic, vaccines and treatment, including a petition that went out urging parents not to vaccinate their teenagers, demands for the Government to stop using mRNA vaccines and adopt the Chinese-made vaccine, Sinovac, instead, and advocating for a certain drug to be used for the treatment of Covid instead of vaccinations.
“Some of these were from a group of doctors including a Dr Paul IW Yang, and a Dr Oon Chong Jin (a private cancer specialist who championed hepatitis B vaccination in Singapore). Incidentally, the current highly effective hepatitis B vaccine is not a killed whole virus vaccine,” he wrote.
Dr Lye then began to address each of these issues.
He underlined that teens and children can get Covid, although most have mild cases. “But they do carry as much virus as adults if they are infected. They can infect adults with poor immunity and older adults, who may become sick.
“The UK has shown that Pfizer-BioNtech and Astra Zeneca vaccines reduced household transmission by 50-60%,” he wrote, adding that the group of doctors “claimed that mRNA vaccines do not reduce transmission”,
He also reiterated that mRNA vaccines are among the most effective Covid vaccines, reducing symptomatic illness by 95 per cent and preventing transmission by over 60 per cent.
Dr Lye also said that there’s data that says mRNA vaccines are effective against the UK and South African variants, while there is not nearly as much data concerning Sinovac against the variants.
“Laboratory studies showed that Sinovac may not work well in Brazilian b1128 and South African b1351 variants. Although these doctors claimed Sinovac is superior to mRNA vaccines against variants. there is little data to confirm it is effective for b1617.2, and there is data to suggest it is less effective against other variants,” he added.
The NCID professor wrote that while “there is no reason for Singapore not to approve Sinovac”, there must be adequate data for the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) to make decisions.
“The HSA is still awaiting reply from Sinovac on its queries,” he added.
As to the use of a drug called Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic, for the treatment of Covid, Dr Lye wrote, “Ivermectin has not been proven to be effective in COVID. Very few properly conducted clinical trials have been published.
“In a large trial conducted at a dormitory by National University Hospital doctors including Professor Ananth Tambyah, ivermectin was NOT effective in preventing COVID.”
He then said that groups that spread an anti-vaccine message in Singapore and overseas are “highly active”, hence the need for public awareness and vigilance on fake science spread on social media.
“We must win this war against the virus. Effective COVID vaccines are a part of our solution.”
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