Vaccine Groups Continue to Thrive on Chat Apps Despite Social Media Crackdown | Malaysia



Health workers prepare a syringe for the Covid-19 vaccination at the Universiti Teknologi Mara Shah Alam, June 23, 2021. – Photo by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, September 24 – With nearly 82% of Malaysia’s adult population fully vaccinated against Covid-19, attention is turning to areas of the country that are still resistant to vaccines.

Like many other countries, Malaysia has small but vocal groups opposed to Covid-19 vaccines, thanks to social media which has made it easier for these people to find each other.

With platforms like Facebook and Twitter cracking down on anti-vaccination sentiments, however, these groups and individuals have turned to messaging services like Telegram and WhatsApp, which are effectively unmoderated, to continue to share their opposition.

On Telegram, for example, a simple search using phrases like “anti vaksin” and “anti vaxx” results in a plethora of groups discussing these topics.

Participants in these groups typically share information about alternative medicine as well as clips from doctors and medical experts around the world who support this vaccine rejection or support off-label treatments for drugs such as ivermectin.

Ivermectin is a livestock dewormer that some insist can treat Covid-19 infection, but medical authorities around the world have intentionally suppressed this information in favor of vaccines.

Malaysian courier found groups with more than 60,000 subscribers, including one claiming that the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines contained graphene oxide in their lipid nanoparticles.

This group’s profile page read “Support and Protect Against 5G – WiFi Radiation Poisoning”, on the basis that graphene oxide can respond to 5G telecommunication signals.

Graphene oxide is a chemical made up of carbon atoms and oxygen. When oxygen is removed from the compound, only a pure carbon material called graphene remains, which is often described as a miracle material due to its strength and electronic properties.

Graphene oxide dissolves easily in water, while it also has known toxic effects on cells and organisms, but this depends on the dose used and how it is administered. All reputable medical associations have stated that none of the vaccines currently administered in the world contain this chemical.

Malaysia is now starting to vaccinate adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, and the government has also approved booster shots for high-risk groups that could start as early as October.

Lots of groups Malaysian courier found insist the vaccines were extremely harmful to minors, including one claiming to have discovered a “cure” for Covid-19 which, coincidentally, could also work for a host of other chronic diseases.

The group promoting this universal remedy included articles linked to articles and YouTube videos allegedly from doctors in South America testifying to the effectiveness of this “miracle” cure not only for Covid-19 but also for other diseases.

Other messages usually included requests for instructions to use this universal remedy, followed by responses from administrators to them.

In addition to promoting the quick fix, users in these groups have generally expressed hostility towards vaccination as well as restrictions on the unvaccinated.

Some users in the group of over 4,000 members expressed suspicion about the long-term effects of the vaccines, while others claimed it was against their religion to get the vaccine.

Yet another group with more than 5,000 subscribers were not against the Covid-19 vaccines per se, but espoused the view that alternative treatments were more effective. Again, this heavily promoted ivermectin cattle dewormer.

Among the documents were videos discussing ivermectin’s superiority over vaccines, which featured a former factory supervisor who has since been accused of spreading fake news that a police officer died as a result of vaccination against Covid-19.

Discussions were based on claims that the studies were intentionally biased against ivermectin as well as arguments against vaccination because they did not prevent infection.

Some posters went so far as to wish the heads of government death for making vaccination compulsory.

A group of more than 20,000 subscribers were presenting information allegedly about fully vaccinated people who are believed to have died yet from Covid-19.

This group did not have many posts with opinions and most included posts that purported to be the vaccination record of a deceased patient from Covid-19 and their alleged deterioration.

This group was mirrored by a smaller one that also focused on sharing such information, albeit from other countries and mostly from social media entries.

Malaysia set a staggering rate of over 500,000 daily vaccinations in August as part of the country’s campaign to vaccinate the entire adult population by October, but this has started to slow down as most voluntary recipients have already received at least one dose.

This led authorities to start focusing on areas of the country that were reluctant to get vaccinated or that were outright against it.

Vaccination against Covid-19 remains voluntary in Malaysia, but authorities have increasingly made full vaccination a requirement to regain many of the previously restricted freedoms as part of efforts to control the pandemic locally.



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