The public has valid questions and sound ideas on the Covid-19 situation that need to be addressed by experts
BY KHIRTINI K KUMARAN
Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, there has been an overabundance of information spreading alongside the virus. Some were correct, while others were not.
“The whole pandemic has been a pandemic of information, particularly misinformation and purposeful disinformation,” said Dr Manimalar Selvi Naicker, Consultant Histopathologist and Statistician (GStat), during the recent South Asia Malaysia Health Summit 2022.
She claimed the public was concerned and wanted their questions answered. Infectious disease doctors, public health doctors, and virologists were asked to face the camera, answer their questions, and explain what was going on.
Dr Manimalar said: “The public has valid questions and theoretically sound ideas that subject matter experts must address. We see politicians, unrelated doctors, or a doctor who has been a bureaucrat for a long time, facing the camera in many countries.
“And in the case of vaccines, research data and papers poured in thick and fast. There was also concern about who was on the vaccine advisory committee, which was tasked with reviewing the data and making decisions. We were interested in learning about their qualifications and potential conflicts of interest.”
Referring to Malaysia, she commented: “Unfortunately, the Malaysian media takes no interest in scientific discussions. No one was going to the ground to ask the members of the public and doctors on their concerns and not finding people who are qualified to answer those concerns.”
The two-day summit, organised virtually by World Council for Health (WCH) and hosted by WCH Steering Committee member Dr Naseeba Kathrada, featured country updates, discussions and debates on topics surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
Representatives from several South Asian countries such as India, Nepal and Sri Lanka shared the Covid-19 situation in their respective countries. There was also a representative from Austria. Dr Manimalar shared the concerns in Malaysia.
Like most countries, since the onset of the Covid-19 cases detected in Malaysia, the government has imposed lockdowns, compulsory masking and social distancing measures. And since the vaccination drive started, Malaysia has had a high vaccination rate.
“In terms of case rates, Malaysia and Singapore have got similar numbers. As for deaths per million, Malaysia has a very high death rate, while Singapore has a low death rate.
“We are unsure whether this is because Malaysia’s death rate data includes deceased with Covid-19, and not just of Covid-19.
“The increase in death rate is something we, doctors on the ground, can’t understand. It is a bit inexplicable to us because the health systems between Singapore and Malaysia are comparable and very good.”
According to Dr Manimalar, Malaysia has a sound healthcare system, with free government treatment for everyone and a thriving private sector, which both go hand in hand.
Treatment and strategies
She noted that Malaysia had not developed a systematic way of trying potential early treatment, especially with repurposed drugs.
“I’m specifically referring to Ivermectin because I did a safety review of Ivermectin and found that it was a very safe drug.
“As Ivermectin is not available in Malaysia, members of the public who wanted to try Ivermectin were forced to buy online.”
She said another concern was the impact of lockdown on the immune system and public health. Having a good and robust immune system will help sustain and fight the virus when infected.
Lockdowns with a sedentary lifestyle and no exercise were not ideal for the immune system. And a big part of a person’s health indicator is one’s financial and social status. The lockdowns have also created financial difficulties for working people and have contributed to an overall worsening of health.
Dr Manimalar also highlighted the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH) had not made AEFI (Adverse Events Following Immunisation) reporting mandatory.
“Unless we have mandatory AEFI reporting for vaccines, the vaccine programme is not going to succeed. People will trust the vaccine if it has a good track record, and not trust the vaccine if it does not have a good track record or there is a deficit of information.”
Dr Manimalar’s report and presentation were prepared based on the publicly available data and documents and are not affiliated with the government or any organisation. The analysis and views expressed are her own.
Pandemic and emergency
During a panel discussion, Omar Khan, a renowned global consultant and founder of Sensei International, said: “In year three, we can hardly be in an emergency. By definition, that is something emerging.
“These emergency privileges are splattered all over this ‘scamdemic’. By this stage, we do not have an emergency, neither statistically, in terms of excess mortality nor runaway predatory pathogen, other than people of a certain age and comorbidity profile. So, I think we have to stop talking as if this was January 2020.”
Speaking on the experimental novel Covid-19 vaccines, Dr Naseeba commented: “Many people now, after they’ve taken one or two vaccine shots, realise something is wrong and that they’re not going to take any more. But there is still a big group very captivated by the vaccine narrative.”
During a panel discussion on “Omicron – The Silliness and The Saviour” Nick Hudson explained: “Many people who had an experience of life in which they felt disconnected from any sense of community suddenly find meaning in the emergent crisis.
“And that meaning gives them a sense of belonging, a sense of having something purposeful in their lives, and they become impervious to any facts that will shake their sensibility of the crisis.
“What we are seeing are people refusing to see the logic and the facts before them because there is no upside in them, instead only something to lose, which is this profound sense of community and solidarity and action against an emergent crisis.”
Hudson is also chairman of Pandemic Data & Analytics.
The WCH is a worldwide coalition of health-focused organisations and civil society groups that seek to broaden public health knowledge and sense-making through science and shared wisdom.
The WCH stands against the Covid-19 experimental ‘vaccines’, demands an end to this crisis, and declares it illegal and unlawful for anyone to participate directly or indirectly in the harmful experimental vaccination programme. — The Health