Physicians' group calls for legal action against anti-vaxxers who spread fake news



The Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association has urged the government to take legal action against the anti-vaccination groups for spreading false information related to vaccines and immunisation.

Its president, Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said with the implementation of legal action it would reduce the spread of misinformation about vaccination activities that raised fears and concerns among the public.

“I agree for these anti-vaccination groups to be prosecuted ... they often spread false facts, usually on social media about negative effects of immunisation and blaming the government (for running the National Immunisation Programme or NIP).

“If the Ministry of Health (MOH) says the actions of these groups are wrong and harmful to the public (for spreading misinformation about vaccines), the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) can certainly do their job in accordance with the provisions of the law against these people,” he said to Bernama after participating in the "Vaccination Roundtable: Should Childhood Immunisation be Made Compulsory by Law?" event in Kuala Lumpur today.

He said this when asked to comment on the fifth resolution of the conference which suggested the government to take strict action based on existing laws and policies against anti-vaccination groups.

Meanwhile, Dr Zainal Ariffin also urged the government, especially the MOH, to develop and produce its own vaccines in the country and to reduce dependence on foreign products.

“We actually have the expertise (to produce our own vaccines), for example, we have the Institute of Medical Research. Of course this is a good idea and cost savings, for us to produce it here,” he said.

During the roundtable session, attended by 22 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), 10 resolutions have been issued, and one of them is for the government to make immunisation compulsory for children nationwide through specific mandatory legislation.

Dr Zainal Ariffin said the resolution would be handed to the prime minister for follow-up by the government.

- Bernama

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