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To Counter Anti-Vaxxers, Get Influencers To Promote Vaccination — Psychologists



SHAH ALAM, June 7 — To counter misinformation from anti-vaxxers, we need to mobilise influential people as well as social media influencers to promote vaccination, say psychologists.

SOLS Health-Thrive WellResearch and Advocacy director, Dr Arman Rashid said we have to speak the same language as anti-vaxxers in reaching out to the wider society.

“Studies show those who believe in fake news online are more likely to be persuaded by influencers than experts, which means we need influencers to carry the scientific evidence even though they may not be experts themselves.

“Misinformation about vaccines from anti-vaxxers is not new but has gained momentum with their movement growing online and it is easy for some individuals to believe in fake news based on reading a blog or watching a video, which is why digital literacy is important amongst all age groups,” he said.

An actor as well as an influencer, Beto Kusyairy, 41, said Malaysians should pay attention to what the experts have to say regarding COVID-19, rather than forwarded texts on Whatsapp and Telegram, that are able to skew their perception towards the fatal virus.

We have experts in their respective fields. Doctors, religious scholars or muftis in Malaysia and around the world have recommended getting the vaccine.

“So who are they (antivaxxers) to go against these experts? You just have to think logically,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Beto Kusyairy who has over 642,000 followers on Instagram and had taken his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine at Universiti Malaya vaccination centre (PPV) six days ago, was seen urging others to do so on his Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Recently, de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan had reportedly said that anti-vaccination groups could risk action under Sedition Act 1948 if found inciting people against the COVID-19 vaccine.

Takiyuddin said action could also be taken under other existing laws, including the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, as well as the Emergency Ordinance 2021.

Meanwhile, Arman said in psychology terms, proclaiming vaccines as unsafe by ignoring scientific evidence has been termed as the ‘Dunning-Kruger’ effect and this happens when individuals overestimate what they know and underestimate what they don’t know, leading to strongly held views despite science saying otherwise.

“Research from a consortium of United States (US) universities found the Dunning-Kruger effect plays an important role in false information and propaganda against vaccinations,” he said adding that Prof David Dunning of Michigan University was the one who coined the term that warns about the harmful consequences of ignorance as this is a form of cognitive bias ignoring gaps in our knowledge and expertise.

In the case of social media, Arman said the Dunning-Kruger effect gets further amplified as isolated anti-vaxxers get a disproportionate voice online.

“They feel vindicated by ‘likes’ endorsing opinions lacking scientific evidence, which makes them more and more oblivious about their knowledge gaps,” he said.

Arman said in the age of self-proclaimed online experts, we see this effect more and more amongst anti-vaxxers as they not only overestimate themselves but also underestimate experts.

He said social media serves as a powerful tool for anti-vaxxers to project themselves as experts, particularly in an age when anyone can be a specialist online, which leads to self-proclaimed experts who lack any scientific expertise about vaccines, spreading misinformation.

“In most cases, anti-vaxxers seek to influence others as a form of validation and endorsement of their isolated views that they know have been predominantly rejected by mainstream society. They are often motivated by conspiracy theories, particularly about geopolitical powers and pharmaceutical companies,” said Arman.

Meanwhile, Universiti Putra Malaysia Teaching Hospital (HPUPM) Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Medicine and Psychiatry lecturer Dr Ruziana Masiran said the existence of this anti-vaccine group started with the vaccine for smallpox in 1800.

Ruziana is in agreement with Dr Arman’s view that their distrust toward the vaccine is because they do not understand or doubt the science or ingredients in the vaccine.

She said the latest studies by Murphy et al. (2021) in the United Kingdom and Ireland, published in the leading journal ‘Nature’ found that those who rejected the COVID-19 vaccine received less information about the pandemic from authoritative sources.

“The distrust has increased because there is a law that requires children to be vaccinated to enable them to attend public schools.

“Unfortunately, the decision of this group of people not to vaccinate themselves or their children has contributed to the re-emergence of infectious diseases that have been or almost eradicated,” she said citing that measles was declared eliminated in 2002 but there was a resurgence in 2014.



Parents Seek Help For 11-Month-Old Baby With Heart Disease



IPOH, June 15  — It has been a struggle for survival for a married couple here, who currently has no source of income due to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Julia Mohd Ali, 34, who suffers from spinal cord disease, said she used to work as a security guard, but was forced to quit her job in last March as her health deteriorated.

The mother of five said life gets hard for her family after her husband Mohamad Syamrezlan Misak, 22, a contract labourer, could not go to work due to the implementation of the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) in Manjoi, from June 6 to 19.

To make matters worse for the couple, they have to take care of their two children who have health conditions and require help as well as treatment.

“I have four children from my previous marriage. Three of them live with my ex-husband, while my eldest son Nor Aiman ​​Fitri, 16, who has Dyslexia and learning disabilities is currently under my care,” she said when met by Bernama at his rented house in Kampung Tengku Hussein, Manjoi.

Julia said her child from the current marriage, Raisha Aleeya, 11 months, was diagnosed with clogged arteries three months ago.

“Every six weeks, I have to take my baby who also suffers from epilepsy to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital for examination. She is also scheduled to undergo a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan this August,” she said.

Despite the hardship, Julia said she was very grateful for the concern demonstrated by a non-governmental organisation which has agreed to help her in paying the house rental which costs her RM300 a month for three months.

Meanwhile, Kinta district Social Welfare officer Shamsudin Osman said the Social Welfare Department (JKM) would look at the suitable assistance that could be channelled to the family.

“We will visit them to provide the food box aid. We will provide the necessary assistance to the family accoding to their needs,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Sources: BERNAMA

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Besides Christian Eriksen, These Are 5 Other Footballers Who Have Collapsed On The Field



Recently, the sports world has been bearing shocking news when an unconscious Christian Eriksen received CPR on the turf of Parken Stadium. The incident in which his teammates attempting to form a protective ring to keep his motionless body out of sight really makes everyone worried. It really made everyone worries as seasoned football fans have seen this in the past and the outcome has almost never been nice.

Luckily, the condition of Christian Eriksen is now stabilized. He is under the best possible medical care and most importantly, alive. Other than this particular incident, there are also some other footballers who have collapsed on the field. These are 5 of the most remembered incident that has ever happened before.

1) Fabrice Muamba

Picture: Bleacher Report

The Bolton Wanderers midfielder collapsed on the pitch in an FA Cup match in 2012 due to a cardiac arrest and was technically “dead” for 78 minutes before he was revived. The former England under-21 midfielder had to retire soon after at the age of 24.

2) Marc-Vivien Foe

Picture: Pinterest

The Cameroon midfielder collapsed during a Confederations Cup match in 2003. Medical staff attempted to resuscitate the 28-year-old on the pitch before taking him off on a stretcher. However, they failed in their attempts to restart his heart and he was pronounced dead.

3) Cheick Tiote

Picture: Bleacher Report

Four months after leaving Newcastle United, the midfielder fainted during a training session with Chinese club Beijing Enterprises. The 30-year-old Ivorian died in hospital.

4) Bafetimbi Gomis

Picture: World Football Index

The French striker has collapsed several times on the pitch due to a medical condition that causes him to faint. He has collapsed playing for Swansea City, Galatasaray, and Al-Hilal.

5) Miklos Feher

Picture: Sportskeeda

The Hungary striker was playing for Portuguese side Benfica against Vitoria Guimaraes in January 2004 when he keeled over in pain before falling backward onto the pitch after a heart attack. Medics attempted to resuscitate the unconscious 24-year-old before he was taken off on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital. Doctors tried to revive him for nearly 90 minutes before he was pronounced dead.

Sources: The Straits Times.

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1,357,966 Individuals Fully Vaccinated As of Yesterday – Dr Adham



KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — A total of 1,357,966 individuals have completed the two-dose vaccination under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme as of yesterday, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

Dr Adham in a Twitter posting said, 3,132,304 individuals received the first dose, bringing the number of doses administered in Malaysia so far to 4,490,270.

The five states with the highest number of two-dose vaccinations are Selangor with 174,302 doses followed by Sarawak (149,227); Perak (131,350); Johor (130,202); and Kuala Lumpur (122,810).

As of yesterday, 56.80 per cent or 13,789,736 individuals have registered for the vaccination with Selangor leading the sign-up for jabs at 3,508,098 people followed by Johor (1,720,532), Sarawak (1,320,513) and Kuala Lumpur (1,166,135).

Sources: BERNAMA

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