Ministry health

This poster was not published by Japan’s Ministry of Health or its largest medical association

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An image has been repeatedly shared in Korean-language social media posts that claim it shows a poster released by the Japanese Ministry of Health warning against receiving a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in due to the risk of reduced immunity. The image was also shared elsewhere alongside a claim issued by the Japan Medical Association (JMA), the country’s largest medical association. These claims, however, are false. The poster was posted by a group of volunteer doctors in Japan who oppose further Covid-19 injections. Japan’s health ministry and the JMA both recommend vaccinating vulnerable groups, and health experts told AFP there was no evidence that multiple doses of the vaccine weaken immunity.

The poster image was shared in a Facebook post here July 17, 2022.

The message in Korean translates to: “You must never receive a 4th dose!

“The more bites you receive, the more infected you will be. Not only will there be more PCR positive cases, but the risk of dying will also increase. [The vaccine will] lower immunity. In Japan, the number of people testing positive for Covid is skyrocketing due to 3rd strokes.

“Vaccines cannot stop infections or prevent the disease from getting worse. You should never get a fourth shot.”

Screenshot of misleading Facebook post, captured July 20, 2022

The same image was also shared in a Naver blog Publish alongside a claim that it was issued by the Japanese Medical Association (JMA), the largest professional association of licensed physicians in Japan.

The same poster with similar demands was also shared on Facebook here, here and here.

However, the poster was not released by either the Japanese Ministry of Health or the JMA.

Anti-Booster Group Poster

The Japanese text of the poster, titled “Oppose the fourth vaccine of the new coronavirus vaccine”, does not indicate that it was published by the country’s health ministry.

Instead, the poster questions the ministry’s official statistics on infections.

A combined reverse image and keyword search on Google found the corresponding poster posted here on the website from the Honbetsu Cardiovascular Medicine Clinic, a local clinic located in the city of Honbetsu in Hokkaido, Japan.

The poster covers two pages.

Below is a screenshot comparing the poster shared in the misleading Facebook posts (left) and the front page of the poster on the Honbetsu Clinic website (right):

It is attributed to the Hokkaido Volunteer Doctors Association – a local volunteer group – at the bottom of the second page, which has not been shown in social media posts in Korean.

Several members of the association also put their names on the poster.

Below is a screenshot of the second page of the poster on the Honbetsu Clinic website, with the attribution to the Hokkaido Volunteer Physician Association highlighted in red by AFP:

The website of the Hokkaido Volunteer Doctors Association states that the organization “strongly advocates the immediate cessation of all vaccinations against Covid-19 from the third dose, for children aged 5 to 11 years and for pregnant women”.

A joint statement by the members of the group published on the website contains several claims regarding Covid-19 vaccines, including that they have no proven efficacy for new variants of Covid-19 and that they can produce various adverse effects in recipients, including blood clots and decreased immunity levels.

Other materials posted on the website also refer to Honbetsu Cardiovascular Medicine Clinic.

“No evidence” boosters weaken immunity

Claims in the poster that booster shots lower a person’s immunity, leaving them vulnerable to further Covid-19 infections and possibly death, are not supported by evidence, say medical experts .

“There is no evidence to support this claim,” the professor said. Eom Jung-shikan infectious disease expert at Gachon University’s Gil Medical Center told AFP on August 3.

“To prove that vaccines weaken your immunity, you have to show that after vaccination, either the number of T cells decreases or is weakened, or the antibodies decrease,” Eom said.

“But the fact, observed through quantitative and qualitative evidence, is that vaccines increase antibodies and reduce the risk of severe disease.”

Teacher Kim Woo Jooan infectious disease expert at Korea University, also noted that there was “a lack of evidence” to support the idea that multiple doses weaken immunity.

Kim added: “The allegation may have gained momentum because Covid-19 vaccines have shown lower efficacy due to an increase in the number of variants, which in turn has produced lower rates of infection. higher infections.

“Nevertheless, there is plenty of evidence to show that vaccines have saved lives and prevented serious illnesses.”

Fourth dose in Japan

Japan’s health ministry is offering a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to people over 60 and people aged 18 and over who are considered to be at higher risk of contracting the disease, according to the ministry official. . website.

The country will provide fourth strikes between May 25 and September 30, 2022.

The JMA also recommends vaccinations on its websiteclaiming that “the spread of infections can be limited if as many people as possible are vaccinated”.

A letter of the organization issued July 28, 2022 to branches of regional medical associations states that fourth shots are recommended for “workers between the ages of 18 and 59 who provide services to those at higher risk of developing severe symptoms in facilities medical facilities, aged care establishments and facilities for the disabled.”