Police are looking for an Instagrammer who allegedly spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccine following the death of national archer Haziq Kamaruddin.
Kajang police rep Mohd Zaid Hassan told the press today that the police had launched a manhunt for Aqila Yusri after she claimed that Haziq may have died of blood clot caused by his AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination when the deceased had in fact been inoculated with Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine.
Zaid said that the woman, who has since apologized to her 6,000 followers for sharing unverified information, will be investigated for spreading false information, which carries a maximum penalty of a RM50,000 (US$12,000) fine or a year in jail.
Aqila shared her opinion in an Instagram rant on Saturday, a day after Haziq, who competed in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic games, died at the age of 27. He had collapsed due to a blocked coronary artery that was not linked to the vaccination, according to the Health Ministry. Haziq had gotten his second dose 10 days prior to his death, reports said.
In the two-minute-long video, the 25-year-old woman accused the government of hiding the so-called truth behind Haziq’s death, citing her mother and a doctor named Vigneswaren Ponnudurai from the Subang Jaya Medical Center in Selangor as her sources. The hospital did not immediately respond to Coconuts’ request for comment via email.
She also claimed that her mother and doctor had advised her against the vaccine, even telling her to spread the word to her friends.
“The government did not let us know that our national athlete Haziq Kamaruddin died of a blood clot caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine,” she could be heard saying in the video. “Why would they tell us? If they tell us about this, we’d be too scared to get vaccinated.”
“If you want to take the vaccine, it’s up to you,” she later added.
Hours after her Instagram story went up, Aqila apologized publicly for sharing unverified information.
“I would like to apologize to Subang Jaya Medical Center, Dr. Vigneswaren, and my mom Rohayah Hussin for causing a misunderstanding … when I shared unverified info about the pros and cons of the AstraZeneca vaccine,” she wrote on Instagram.
Her comments had already drawn backlash online.
“Next time, if you’re unsure of your facts, DO NOT SHARE,” a follower Siti_Najihah scolded her in the comments.
Ximnnrainaa chimed in: “I hope you learn from your mistakes… It’s important to be outspoken, but it’s dangerous to speak out without solid proof.”
The police also advised the public to avoid sharing unverified information.
“Please do not simply share unverified information because it could cause public confusion,” Zaid said.
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This article, Wanted: Police search for Malaysia woman who claimed national archer died due to vaccine (Video), originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.