The Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday issued a statement debunking false information that went viral across social media platforms, which questioned the need to take the COVID-19 vaccine and booster, suggesting that they are ‘experimental vaccines.’
The MoH reassured that all COVID-19 vaccines used in Brunei Darussalam have undergone close inspection and control in terms of safety and scientific effectiveness, before being administered to the public.
The statement said MoH is responsible for ensuring the public is protected against communicable and non-communicable diseases. The MoH also ensures that all medicine, including vaccines, have undergone close scrutiny and monitoring before being used in the Sultanate.
The COVID-19 vaccine will not be able to change the genetic structure of the recipient, nor will it be able to destroy the existing immunity in the human body. The vaccine teaches the body to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus and increases the body’s immunity against COVID-19 infection, the statement added.
The public is advised not to immediately subscribe to information and news disseminated through the Internet or social media platforms – like Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook – without first ensuring its authenticity.
The ministry also calls on the public to be responsible and to refrain from sharing ‘fake news’ that has yet to be verified by health authorities.
Circulating fake news is an offence under Section 34 of the Public Order Act (Chapter 148), which states that anyone who spreads false reports or makes false statements, whether orally, in writing or by other means, that are likely to cause public alarm or result in public disorder, is guilty of an offence punishable by a prison term of three years or a fine of up to BND3,000.
The MoH will take legal action against individuals found responsible for spreading their own beliefs and misleading others on the vaccine.
For information, the public can visit the MoH website at www.moh.gov.bn or call the Health Advice Line 148 or Darussalam Line 123.